The only part that remains from the medieval castle of Rouen, the former keep was named after Joan of Arc who was brought inside after her capture by the English. The tower is open to visit and stands between the railway station and the Fine Arts Museum.

The Tower of Joan of Arc in Rouen

Tower of Joan of Arc in Rouen © French Moments
Tower of Joan of Arc in Rouen © French Moments

The tower of Joan of Arc (formerly known as ‘Grosse Tour‘ and in French: Tour de Jeanne d’Arc) is the only part that remains of the Castle of Rouen built by the French king Philip Augustus. The entire fortress, except for the keep, was dismantled by the order of King Henri IV in 1591. Contrary to what its name suggests, Joan of Arc was not kept imprisoned there but in the Tour de la Pucelle, demolished in 1809 but whose foundations can still be seen at 102 Rue Jeanne d’Arc.

Rouen Castle
Rouen castle

Joan of Arc was brought inside the castle when she was taken prisoner on the 24th May 1430 and to face trial. According to the legend, the maiden was brought inside the tower to be shown the instruments of torture, to which she declared:

Truly, if you have to pull my members and my soul from my body, I shall say nothing else; and if I say something to you, I would always say to you afterwards that you made me say it by force”.

The tower has 4 metre depth walls and is approximately 30 metre tall.. Its tall sharp-pointed roof was added at the time of the restoration undertaken in the 1870s. During the Second World War, the tower was turned into a bunker by the Germans.

Vue en coupe du donjon du château de Rouen

The best view of the tower is from the rue du Donjon. Access to the tower is from the rue du Bouvreuil. A steep spiral staircase leads to the top where a small collection of memorabilia related to Joan of Arc and the history of the castle is exhibited.

Joan of Arc Tower in Rouen copyright French Moments
Joan of Arc Tower, Rouen © French Moments


About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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