Château du Taureau

History and description

A site occupied since the Antiquity, Morlaix remained without marine fortifications until the 16th century. The town was pillaged repeatedly by privateers of all kinds of origin. It was following such pillage, by English allied to the Spanish, in 1522, that the town of Morlaix decided to build the château du Taureau (named after the rock on which it was built), at the mouth of the river which traversed the town. The start of construction was in 1540. At the time, it consisted of an artillery tower, named the tour Française, and a battery, the cannon embrasures of which were stationed at the level of the water.
The fort was confiscated by the services of the king at the start of the personal reign of Louis XIV. Vauban was tasked with reconstructing the fort in spring 1689, at the start of the war of the League of Augsbourg. Vauban established the general scheme of the construction, which was carried out on-site by engineers Garangeau and Frézier. The fort was only completed in 1745, at the start of the war of Succession of Austria.
Following 1745, the fort did not have any other notable modifications, except the addition of a white signal light, which became red in the 19th century, and the transformation of its kitchen into a telegraphy post. However, it was used as a prison from 1745, until at least 1871. The prisoners were internal political detainees, at the request of their families in the case of nobles. Between 1941 and 1944, the Germans used it as a lookout position in the Atlantic Wall and installed an anti-aircraft cannon on the main tower.

Current state

The fort du Taureau was restored from 2000 to 2006 by the State and the Chamber of Commerce of Morlaix to be transformed into a museum.

Château du Taureau

Château du Taureau
48° 40' 33" N, -3° 53' 4" E

castle then fort
Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, Siméon Garangeau, Amédée François Frézier
  • BLOIS (A. de), « Recherches historiques sur le château du Taureau » in Bulletin archéologique de l’Association bretonne, s. l., 1850.
  • FAUCHERRE (N.), LECUILLIER (G.), La route des fortifications en Bretagne Normandie, Paris, 2006.
  • Site de l’Inventaire général de Bretagne,
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