The medieval castle at St Suzanne

If you thought that William the Conqueror confined his warmongering to mainland Britain, you were wrong. The castle at Sainte Suzanne is the only one that he tried to take and failed, in a seige lasting four years starting 1083. By this time however he was viewed as English, and the camp where he based his attack, just under a kilometre away, is still called the English camp (Camp des Anglais). The castle did eventually fall to the English, but not until 1425, and then only for a period of 14 years.

The castle site is open to the public for a small charge, and together with an excellent museum of local history in the adjacent manor house, is the focus of a visit to this medieval town. You can also visit the Musée de l'Auditoire (open April-September from 14:00) in the town, have a browse in several small specialtry shops, buy a locally brewed beer, and stop in a bar for a coffee and/or snack. There is also a tourist information office, for more information on current evnts and places to visit in the area or visit the town's website (in French).

While you are in the area it is worth making the short detour to see the camp des Anglais, known also as the camp de Beugy, a little way to the North of the town on the D143. This is essentially a fortified field, but interesting as it preserves the site from which William the Conqueror launched his attack. Also worth doing is the walk signposted to the Tetre Ganne, which is the cliff opposite that ofers a spectacular view down on the castle and town.

There is a charge for admission to both the castle site and the Musée de l'Auditoire. Sainte Suzanne is almost directly North of Le Domaine des Hallais, about 20 minutes away by car. Allow a good half-day for a leisurely explore.

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