4 - THE ROUND TOWER OR
LOUIS XI'S TOWER - This massive
round tower, in fact another keep, dating from the 15th century was
probably intended to replace the Norman keep against the new threat
of artillery. Like the Martelet it was built in the 15C to complete
the fortifications at the point where three walls met: the keep wall,
the castle wall and the town wall. It is crowned with a terrace 'feux'
(upon which early artillery was mounted) and machicolations (holes
through which the defenders could drop stones etc. upon anyone attacking
the base of the fortifications). A flight of 102 steps leads up to
the terrace from which there is a view of the moat and, beyond, a
vast panorama of Loches. The tower comprises three floors fit for
habitation (fireplaces and latrines) above a cellar covered by a cupola.
Part of this tower collapsed in 1814.
-- DOWNSTAIRS WE FIND CARDINAL
BALUE'S DUNGEON - This vast
cylindrical room, vaulted cupola ceiling was for a long time claimed
to be the dungeon where Cardinal Balue was imprisoned. It is more
likely to have been a cellar or a grain mill. The cardinal would habe
been held in one of the upper rooms of the tower. His treason against
Louis XI, on the side of Charles le Téméraire, Duke
of Bourgogne, gave him the right to three years in the iron cage.
-- THE TORTURE CHAMBER
- Within these walls the accused suffered diverse 'encouragements'
designed to provoke their confession. French law recognised the 'Preparatory
Questioning', and the 'Preliminary Questioning'. The former could
be used if, during the trial, the accused denied his crime or offence.
The latter could be inflicted upon the convict prior to execution,
to make him confess the names of his eventual accomplices. Today,
only an iron bar with rings to attach
the prisoner remains within the chamber.
-- RECONSTITUTION OF A DUNGEON
- Through the grating of the door, two prisoners, engrossed in meditation,
can be seen. The close company of rats does not appear to upset them...
-- ANCIENT GRAFFITI
- (three differents rooms) The fortress walls are impregnated with
numerous testimonies, left during the course of the centuries, by
the prisoners, soldiers and other residents. Each graffiti represents
a spontaneous, authentic expression of a sentiment or thought, never
mind the clumsiness of the line or the naivete of the drawing. They
cover the preoccupations of the time, subjects as varied as war, life,
death, religion. Some of the fantastic animals, the crosses and crucifixes
carved on the dungeon walls are perhaps earlier than the 13th century.
Mouldings of graffiti taken from these walls by Serge Raymond, curator
of the Musée de Graffiti de l'Oise, have been on display in
the tower since 1992.
-- THE TERRACE
- Here on the northern corner of the fortress, this terrace was designed
to house bombards, couleuvrines and other early firearms. Enjoy
the wonderful view of the city of Loches from this judiciously placed
vantage point, that also overlooks the barbican.
5 - THE GOVERNOR'S LODGE
- This building, constructed in the 14th century, has undergone numerous
modifications, notably the mullions which were replaced by smaller
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