Le Château de St Mesmin-la-Ville - Vendée - France
The fortified medieval castle of St Mesmin-la-ville at Saint André sur Sèvre was constructed around 1370 by Pierre de Montfaucon, a powerful Baron from Parthenay. It is made up of a hexagonal enclosure flanked by towers basically in the shape of a horseshoe. Two of these towers are joined together forming the main entrance of the castle.
In the 15th century, the Montfaucon family decided to replace another one of these towers with the keep. This was built to a height of 28 metres and was crowned with a round terrace being defended by loopholes for guns at each level. Originally the castle would have been surrounded by a moat with the water coming from the river Sèvre. The castle would have been entered by the fortified main entrance by the drawbridge.
Although the castle does exhibit many facets of medieval fortification and warfare such as the arrow slits, machicolations, drawbridge and gun ports, it didn't really have to withstand a siege at all during the Middle Ages having had its first major attack in February 1796 when some 40 Vendéen royalists resisted the Republican Army for four days hiding out in the enclosure. Fortunately little damage was done during this revolutionary episode.
During the 16th and 17th and 18th centuries, the castle was mainly used as a residence with the Montfaucon family being succeeded by four families up until the French Revolution and it was during the 17th century that the windows, doors, chimneys, floors and roofs that we see today at the castle were added.
The castle hosts many special events particularly in the summer. Medieval banquets and food markets often take place within the rooms of the castle and costumed actors enact various activities such as cookery or childcare.