When the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc undertook the renovation of Pierrefonds castle in 1857 at the request of Napoleon III, it was in a state of ruin. This remarkable fortress was one of the greatest castles of the 15th century. The historian Jean-Paul Midant guides us through the different restored parts of the place-forte and unveils the singular conception of the restoration envisaged by Viollet-le-Duc, between restitution and innovation.
For the architect, restoring a monument was more than simply reconstructing it. Guided both by his imagination and his knowledge of military architecture, he attempted to reconstruct an idealized castle, a vibrant tribute to the best of French architecture at that time.