The French Have Chosen their Favourite Monument for 2023 

The French Have Chosen their Favourite Monument for 2023 

In the Ardennes, Sedan’s fortififed castle has been elected France’s favourite monument. 

On September 13th, the castle of Sedan was crowned the winner of the TV show “Le Monument Préféré des Français”. The historic Ardennes stronghold was elected the nation’s favourite among the 14 finalists in the France3 show presented by popular historian specialised in French heritage, Stéphane Bern. Representing the Grand-Est region, the castle succeeds to Cherbourg’s Transatlantic Maritime Station and Le Redoutable submarine, in Normandy. 

The Cluny Abbey, in Saône-et-Loire, took second place while the Domaine de Chaalis in the Ermenonville forest, 40 km north of Paris, came third.

Just two days before the European Heritage Days and a few months before the château’s 600th anniversary, the title is very timely for the castle known as the “Ardennes Giant”. First built in the 15th century, it was extended over the years to become Europe’s largest fortified castle, spreading across 35,000m² and seven floors. “It’s a fairytale castle, a true panorama of military architecture,” said Stéphane Bern, seen handing over the golden plate to the mayor of Sedan. 

Thanks to a renewed visitor experience since new management took over in 2020 and a host of events and historical animations held in the grounds and within the walls of the castle, the monument’s popularity has grown in recent years and it has already welcomed 100,000 visitors this year. 

Visit the castle for free during this weekend’s Heritage Days. 

Lead photo credit : Aerial view of the 15th-century castle © Pierre Holley

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More in Ardennes, Castle, Château, fortified castle, French heritage, French monument, Grand-Est, Sedan

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Sophie is Digital Editor for France Today. Raised in Burgundy to British parents, she grew up bilingual in a small village where summers were about forest walks and lazy swims in the river. A Franco-British citizen, she studied literature, then journalism in Paris and Cardiff before quickly dipping her toes (and quill) into travel writing. She’s been specialised and writing about France since 2016 and now works from her home office in north-east France.

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