Ivy grows in a heart shape surrounding an indentation in stone walls.
A bridge to the castle crosses over what was once a moat, but is now filled with verdant green grass. Montreuil-sur-mer was built in Roman times, when the sea ran up the estuary of the Canche. The first protective ramparts were built in the 9th Century by the Count of Ponthieu. In the 10th Century, Montreuil became the main sea port of the Capétiens.
From the 11th-13th centures, the city was renowned further for its cloth industry. Its eight churches with a remarkable collection of saints' relics drew pilgrims from far and wide. In 1186 the royal castle - of which only two towers remain - was built under charter granted by Philip Auguste.
As the estuary filled with silt, the port fell silent. Montreuil emerged from the Hundred Years’ War in ruins. The town was plundered by Henry XVIII of England and Charles V of Spain, who laid siege but were rebuffed by the medieval walls. In 1586 much of Montreuil's citizens succumbed to the plague.
Under Francois I, the town was recaptured and its fortifications modified. It subsequently became a major stronghold against Spanish forces. During the reign of Louis XIV, the ramparts were strengthened and modernized. In 1837 the western flank of Napoleon's Camp of Boulogne was headquartered in Montreuil.
This former moat had water lapping against the walls to keep intruders at bay.
Over time, this stone wall has acquired a patina of moss and lichen. It is located in a shaded area along the path leading to the castle.
Plants grow through spaces in the wall leading to the remnants of a castle, now a museum.
The view when exiting interior walls of the fortress.
The expression "storming the ramparts" came from invading armies trying to scale fortified exterior walls surrounding a city, such as these at Montreuil-sur-mer.
An interior view of the ramparts, with narrow openings through which one can glimpse the valley below the citadel.
These narrow crevices were used to fire weapons in warning against unwanted visitors.
Trees at one end of the fortress overlook the green valley.