Jeune homme de dos se baladant autour des ruines du château d'Arques-la-BatailleJeune homme de dos se baladant autour des ruines du château d'Arques-la-Bataille
©Balade autour des ruines du château d'Arques-la-Bataille|Teddy Verneuil

Storied Arques-la-Bataille

A village full of surprises

The château here dominates the view, but the town possesses other historical remnants and surprising discoveries…

Its ruins tower above the village and offer an unbeatable view of the surrounding area. From its natural promontory, with broad pits splitting the valley, the Château d’Arques-la-Bataille alone contains 900 years of history made up of battles and revivals. Built in the early 12th century, it was attacked by William the Conqueror and Charles the Bold, received François I and witnessed the victory of Henri IV, to name but a few of its events… It was remodelled on several occasions before collapsing after the Second World War but never lost its spirit, which can still be felt today in every one of its stones.

A place of remembrance

Another strong historical marker is Commonwealth Cemetery, located at the edge of forest and the final resting place of foreigners who came to do road and forest work in the region during the Second World War. They were Chinese, Hindu and British, but above all from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Passing in front of the 311 graves lined up on the hill is an arresting experience. The forests around it and their panoramic viewpoints provide an opportunity to get a greater sense of these men’s history in Normandy.

Did you know?

Who would have thought the church in this Pays de Caux village houses a real rarity? There, you can admire a rood screen, an architectural unit which separates the choir from the nave and which virtually disappeared from religious buildings beginning in the 17th century. The delicacy of its sculptures makes it all the more extraordinary! An organ is installed there, making the full power of the Académie Bach’s famous early music festival resonate throughout the nation.

A unique street corner…

Visitors with curious minds can continue their exploration with this enormous round building. Nothing could be odder in the centre of a rural village!  This school was erected in 1935, according to the very modern plans of architect Georges Thurin, in response to the doubling of the population over 50 years of industrialization. Because many industries have called Arques-la-Bataille home, including the Viscose factory which produced one of the first French synthetic fibres. But that’s a whole other story…