Last summer Mr and I had an impromptu stop at Chateau d’Hardelot on the way back from Boulogne-Sur-Mer to his parents house. We’ve passed the way a number of times but this is the first time that we took some time to stop by and admire this astounding historical site.
The existence of this chateau was first mentioned under the reign of Rennaud I, Count of Boulogne. Constructed first as a small fortress, the edifice was upgraded to a fortified castle by Philip I in the 13th century.
The castle was used in various diplomatic negotiations between the french and the english during the war between the two sovereignties. In the 17th century, during the Italian war, after a terrible battle between the French and the English, Henry VIII took siege of Boulonge and took the castle from the French. The castle became then, a symbol of war between the two power.
After the monarchy era, the castle was bought by Sir John Hare a British entrepreneur and Bristol magistrate. It was told that the famous Charles Dickens came to Boulogne a few times and dwelled at the castle. When Here passed away, Henry Guy, another Brit politician bought the castle and transformed it into the neo-Tudor style architecture known today.
In 2001, the department of Nord Pas de Calais bought the castle and did a 18-months long restoration in order to save the castle from damages caused by decay. Nowadays, visitors can marvel at the neo-gothic interiors and exposition on french-british heritage in the region.
Additionally, the visitors can stroll along the Tudor garden at the heart of the castle. English roses mingles beautifully with the french lys and bushes. The castle really plays as the essential monument which witness both of the culture and the blend of both influences.
Around the castle, there is also a nature reserve where you can do some walking or hiking. There are a few options of path that you can choose, more or less spread out in the nature. The reserve also hold a great number of plants as well as different species of migrating birds.
A great place to see if you are in the area!
1, rue de la Source