The Donjon of Vez:
History, Architecture, Art & Nature
A few miles from Villers-Cotterêts stands the Donjon de Vez, an imposing fortress classified as Monument Historique as early as 1906 towering over the Automne valley. Located at an altitude of 110 meters above sea level, Vez's strategic position made it a military outpost during the Roman empire (I-V century AD), the capital of the Valois for 5 centuries and then a strategic stronghold during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), fortified by Louis d'Orléans in 1386 and hosting Joan of Arc in 1430 shortly before her arrest in Compiègne in 1431.
An essential part of the French heritage due to its history and well-preserved architecture, the Donon de Vez became in 1987 a location dedicated to Contemporary creation. Keeping with the ideas of Léon Dru, owner of the Donjon in the 19th century who hired Gustave Eiffel and Emmanuel Frémiet to decorate the site, the current owner has gathered the greatest contemporary artists around the Donjon since 1987. Its minimalist garden - designed by Pascal Cribier and labeled Jardin Remarquable - hosts a collection of monumental artwork, and its sculptures park, alternating undergrowths and clearings, invites to the discovery of pieces of art nested in nature or echoing its feodal architecture.