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The castle of Niort was started by Henry II Plantagenet and completed by Richard the Lionheart. Dominating the Sèvre Niortaise valley, it now consists of two square towers or donjons, linked by a 15th century building. The two donjons are the only remaining part of the castle, forming the central point of a once massive fortress. Following Henry II's marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the English Crown controlled most of western France. Needing a secure base from which to maintain links with England, Niort was strategically placed as a site where Henry could maintain a garrison and supplies of personnel and weapons. He chose a site on the banks of the Sèvre on an earlier site. Historians differ over the attribution; a recent hypothesis suggest that Henry's son Richard the Lionheart may have been responsible for the establishment of the castle.

The market hall was constructed by Durand in 1869 in steel and cast iron. Built in the Baltard style, the current building is the third covered market in the town. The medieval market buildings were reputed to be the largest in the Kingdom of France.

(Source: Wikipedea)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6305 W: 61 N: 18289] (82547)
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