Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, 1814–79

Carcassonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, France; restored from 1853

In common with a surprising number of France’s medieval strongholds, the defences at Carcassonne were maintained by the French army until the middle of the nineteenth century, when they were reclassified as historic monuments and restored for their heritage value.

It is difficult to believe that the Carcassonne defences had any residual military value, but, according to the French body responsible for historic monuments, a generation earlier they could not have been reclassified in that way – or, at least, such a reclassification would have ...

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