Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perpignan, Castle, Le Palais des roi de Majorque

In the medieval city of Perpignan, on the hill known as the Puig del Rey, stands a fortress which also served as a castle for the King of Majorque, Jaume II (1276-1349).  Built in 1309, it was later enlarged and modernized by such monarchs as Louis XI and Charles V.  The Spanish influence is appropriately evident, for Perpignan is close to the present border.  The fortress is now being restored, but visitors are able to see some of the rebuilt rooms and enjoy the view of Perpignan from the city's highest point.

One striking feature is the way the masons of Perpignon laid stones, row by row, alternating the direction in which they lean.  This gives a very pleasing design.  Brick is also ubiquitous.

The entrance to the central courtyard has new wooden gates, but the original gates were surely far more sturdy in case of a siege.

Construction will likely continue for years to come. Fortunately, we are allowed to see things even though much more work needs to be done.

The modern glass recalls techniques used by earlier makers of glass, both admitting and fracturing light.

These recall later bay windows, though they are flat with the exterior of the castle.  The thickness of the castle wall gives enough room for people to sit and read by the openings.


This vantage point gives a  view of the courtyard, the raised central bay from which dignitaries could greet or address people below.  You can also see the bells added later, so typical of southern France.

You often see a mixture of various kinds of stone, bricks and cement in the walls.

 Three fireplaces with contrasting stonework.

Straight ahead are the stairs which lead to the raised platform from which dignitaries could view people in the courtyard.