The Tour de Montlhéry is a concentration of 1,000 years of history, battles, victories, plots and other fascinating historic moments. Come and explore this majestic, intriguing and staggeringly high fortress that overlooks Orge Valley. Breathtaking views guaranteed!
"From the top of the Tour de Montlhéry, you'll hear amazement in the form of 'wow', 'oooh' and 'have you seen that house over there'"
Here we are at the foot of the tall, beautiful and mysterious Tour de Montlhéry. A lot of people find this tower intriguing. It can be seen from the N20 main road and nearby towns, and more and more visitors who may have previously overlooked it, are now venturing closer to see this tower. This tower, known as the lighthouse of Essonne, has however been here for a very long time. Children are often speechless when they come face-to-face with this huge monument. We see them with their mouths wide open. Adults may be less expressive but they are all moved nonetheless. The smiles on their faces confirm the excitement that everyone feels at the prospect of climbing to the top to admire the view! The cool wind blowing the leaves around was not going to put us off.
There's no catapult to propel you to the top of the tower. You've got no choice, you have to just be patient and climb the 138 steps to the top. On the way up, we were plunged into the medieval era with the stone walls and wooden beams! Our guide told us stories along the way, each one even more extraordinary than the last. The kids felt like knights looking out for enemies through the arrow slits*.
Our efforts paid off and we finally reached the entrance to the wall walkway.
Arrow slits*: Narrow openings in the walls and doors of a fortified monument, designed to fire projectiles through.
Our guide pushed open the door to the walkway. The view was breathtaking. We were amazed. Jules, one of the children on the tour with us broke the silence with a question: “Hey mum! What are the holes under our feet?” "They are called machicolations", explained the guide. They were used for throwing all sorts of stones and objects on enemies down below.
After this introduction, we climbed the last few steps to the top. There, we reached the grande finale, and one of the visitors even said "Wow, the view is incredible". There we were faced with a 360 degree view. Everyone took the time to try and recognise their own houses, their office or familiar places. We could see for kilometres all around us. We saw Paris and the monuments: the Eiffel Tower, the Tour Montparnasse and the Sacré-Coeur. Closer to us, we could see Marcoussis National Rugby Centre and Linas water tower. If we looked directly below us, we could perfectly make out the layout of the ancient château.
Why not make a detour to the town of Montlhéry to explore the Prisons de la Prévôté and Porte Baudry?
After getting a great breath of fresh air, it was time to go back down and carry on sightseeing in the town of Montlhéry. We set off to the Prisons de la Prévôté in the courtyard of the Maison du Patrimoine.
Our guide led us into the dungeons, it was very cramped down there! He explained that several thieves and criminals were imprisoned down there at once and would only see daylight during meal times.
There were dummies on the floor to illustrate how prisoners would have been here at that time. One of the visitors asked why one of the dummies had sweets in its hand. The guide told us that on a previous tour, a child was worried the dummy would die of hunger and so left some sweets in its hand. The Prisons de la Prévôté certainly arouse the imagination!
Porte Baudry was once the entrance to the town of Montlhéry, and is still in perfect condition. Once inside we could picture what it was like for a guard back then! Of the 4 fortified entrances to the town, only the Porte Baudry is still standing today.
What are you waiting for? Come and explore this treasure of medieval times today!
Tour de Montlhéry