Septmonts Castle, locally known as Château de Septmonts or Donjon de Septmonts, lies in the village with the same name, south of the city of Soissons in the Aisne department in the Picardy region in France.
Septmonts Castle was built in the 13th century by Jacques de Bazoches, bishop of Soissons, as his summer residence.
In the second half of the 14th century the castle was rebuilt on the orders of another bishop of Soissons; Simon de Bucy. The architect came from the royal court of the French king; Charles V. He built the castle in the style of the princely castles of the 14th century; combining elegance with defensive military art and residential comforts. The 43 meters high keep, with 7 floors, dates back to that period.
In the 16th century bishop Symphorien de Bullioud built the Renaissance palace. The bishops of Soissons finally ceased to reside in Septmonts Castle in the late 17th century. Later it was abandoned and fell to ruin.
In 1835 the castle was visited by the famous Victor Hugo who even left a small piece of graffiti on a wall in the keep. In 1864 Septmonts Castle was bought by the painter Jacques Edmond Leman. He set out to restore the castle in 1877 and his work was finished by Antoinette Leininger, Baroness of Ezpeleta.
In 1918, during World War I, Septmonts Castle was bombed which caused a lot of damage and left the Renaissance palace roofless. It again fell to ruin until the 1970's when it was restored.
Septmonts Castle is now owned by the local community and is used for cultural activities. There is an Association of Friends of Septmonts which aims to safeguard and maintain the site. The castle grounds and the keep are freely accessible.
This is a very nice castle with a fantastic keep which you can climb all the way to the very top. When I visited the Renaissance palace was undergoing restoration works and not accessible.