Sedan Castle, locally known as Château Fort de Sedan, lies in the city of the same name, in the Ardennes department in France.
Sedan Castle was first built around 1424 by Évrard III de La Marck, around a small Benedictine priory which had its origins in the 9th century. His moated castle formed a substantially larger triangle around the old priory church, which became the castle chapel, and was equipped with a big round corner tower and a big twin towered gatehouse amongst other things.
His son Jean de La Marck strengthened the castle around 1440 and enlarged it between 1450 and his death in 1470. Jean's son Robert I continued to strenghten the castle, works that were mainly carried out and completed by his son Robert II before his death in 1536.
Robert II was followed up by his grandson Robert IV de La Marck. And before the end of the 16th century Robert IV had transformed Sedan Castle into a most formidable fortress by adding 4 large bastions with gun terraces and at one point walls of about 27 meters thick! During the 16th century the De La Marck family had grown very powerful and their fief had even become an independent principality in 1560.
In 1591 Charlotte de La Marck, heiress to the Principality of Sedan, married Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne. After she died without having issue the next year, Henri became the sole owner of the castle and Prince of Sedan. In 1611 his son with his second wife was born here. This son was also named Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte of Turenne. He became the famous Turenne, Marshal General of France.
In 1642 the Principality became part of the Kingdom of France and the castle became the seat of the Governor of Sedan; Abraham de Fabert. During the 17th century the castle was turned into barracks for a military garrison.
In 1803 Sedan Castle was visited by Napoléon Bonaparte. The old priory church in the heart of the castle was demolished in 1822 to install a ball park... In 1828 the medieval twin towered gatehouse was decapitated to install an artillery platform.
During the Franco-Prussian War, in 1870, the castle was in the centre of the Battle of Sedan. The French Emperor Napoleon III was entrenched in the castle, surrounded by Prussian and Saxon armies. He finally surrendered by handing over his sword at nearby Bellevue Castle.
The largest bastion was dynamited during tests in 1873 and remained a ruin ever since.
During World War I Sedan Castle was occupied by German forces. They used the castle as a labor camp for captured French and Belgian resistance fighters.
The evolution of Sedan Castle in drawings.