version française version française


Coucy le Château - The last days

update 23/09/2020


Louis-Philippe of Orléans, better known by the name of Philippe Egalité, was the last Lord of Coucy. From 1785 until his death in 1793, but the castle is no longer a gentleman's residence for a long time, so there’s no manifestation of rebellion. Revolutionaries made do with renaming Coucy-la-Ville in Coucy-la-Vallée and Coucy-le-Chateau in Coucy-Ia-Montagne, and during the change of constituencies by 1790, to put Coucy in the Aisne region, as chief town of justice and home court. Later, the court having been restored in Chauny, Coucy becomes simple capital of the canton of Laon. The castle is sold as a national asset at the Hospital, which sells stones at the rate of three francs Carts. The dungeon is then used in prison for criminals in the region.
Then, trade resumed, Coucy is almost entirely rebuilt with stones of the castle. The population back to 874 in 1861 while it was only 781 at the beginning of the XlX th century. There is a small trade in wood, flax and hemp and also vines whose presence dates back at least to XlII th . And whose plants have been improved by those reported in Cyprus on the orders of Francois the First.


But during the Romanticism period Coucy is rediscovered, Louis-Philippe of Orléans redeem on October 6, 1829 to 6000 francs - prices that would have given a painting -. Since 1839, Prosper Mérimée demand rescue from the ruins. Already in 1819, the city's mayor M. Cartier had to clean the well of the dungeon and stop selling rocks but it was not until 1853 that Viollet-le-Duc is a quote for the work undertaken three years later. The ruins are cleared, the dungeon is covered and chained with two iron rails to prevent more cracks, some consolidations are carried out at all but very little. Coucy became from that moment a place of tourism where visitors are welcomed at the Hotel du Lion d'Or or this of the Terrace and the Ruins.


While Coucy was some activity and even an image of serene prosperity, WW1 break came last charms of the place. Indeed, Coucy is on the front lines when the Germans activities in August 1914. Immediately held over a period of nearly three years, we can note the presence of a garrison and a "Kazino für Offizieren." Coucy will initially shock that will be decisive for him in 1917. Forced to retreat, the German soldiers, under orders from Luddendorf, using 27 tons of cheddite to blast the dungeon and thus avoid such an observation post did not fall into the hands of french - whereas at the time , aviation was sufficiently developed for this role, but not content with this, they are also skipping the four towers of the castle, another of the chamber, and the three gates of the city - who did not receive the same excuse -. Thus, the town is completely destroyed, with the exception of the house that was home to the headquarters of Kronprinz.

The street fighting there in 1918 ended the destructions in this place, already quite reached without apparently leaving no hope for Coucy can get up one day.


Yet, nature will always triumph and Coucy sees its ruins noted. First, the houses, while the government has for a good time to leave things as they are to keep in memory of the "German barbarism."

Then it was the turn of the monument itself: from 1922, the ruins were cleared and the first rescue is made. The work is interrupted by the Second World War which brings back the Germans to Coucy, but they found nothing to add to the work done by their predecessors in 1914-18. Beginning in 1945, the resumption of conservation and maintenance of the Lower Courtyard. From 1968 to 1971, two towers of the castle are consolidated and reconstructed in the museum tower Soissons Gate home to the new models of the castle and its dungeon.

Finally, from 1966 are organized youth camps volunteers and the Army is also to carry out the clearing and preparing the site for future sites of heavy lifting.

Now, the Association for the development of Castle Coucy dealing with the restoration of Coucy. Since 1 March 1972, it holds annual volunteer yards (interrupted in 1967, resumed with the AMVCC, 1976), which are designed to give  Coucy a more pleasant face. Although its capabilities are still limited, but a few years will undoubtedly launched an operation to a larger scale, aimed at restoring greater.