Hidden France: the marvelous bay of Morlaix

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The Château du Taureau draws an inescapable silhouette on the horizon facing the sea and its history is fascinating. A fortress with a cannon was built there in 1542, perfectly placed to protect Morlaix from the English, who had pillaged and destroyed the town 20 years earlier.

Around 1680, it underwent a radical transformation thanks to Vauban, the military engineer appointed by King Louis XIV. Vauban reinforced the granite fortress, extending it 60 meters to house 11 cannons, soldiers, two cells and rainwater harvesting facilities. The work lasted 45 years.

In 1721, the fortress became a prison, often for men whose families found them troublesome: they had them locked up and paid for their upkeep… as soon as they stopped paying, the prisoner was released! Political prisoner Louis Blanqui was the last inmate of the fortress in 1871.

The rest of Taurus’ story is a little more pleasant. Listed as a Historic Monument in 1914, it was rented to the Vilmorin family in 1930, who used it as an unusual summer residence. Later, from 1960 to 1980, it housed a sailing school. Finally, an association was created to save the fortress from ruin and open it to the public. Thanks to extensive restoration work, it opened its doors in 2006 and since then has welcomed day-walkers to its cells and ramparts thanks to regular boat trips.

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