Mission Bern

Mission Bern Château de Quintin

The Archive Tower: Candidate for the Mission Bern 2020

The Archive Tower is an integral part of the planned arts and crafts centre in 2025. Today in a state of peril, it threatens to collapse at any moment. Its safeguarding is however essential for the castle and the town. We have applied for the Bern 2020 mission and are awaiting the results. If we are selected, the work can begin and the tower will be saved!

Travaux Château de Quintin

In 2013, along with four other sites in Quintin, the Tour des archives was selected by the Chaillot School as a study project. Their work, very complete and of high quality, was exhibited at Quintin and then at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine in Paris. It provides a diagnosis of its sanitary and structural condition of prime importance. Moreover, it confirms the undeniable heritage interest of the tower, its crucial role as a link between the city and the castles, and opens up new perspectives for enhancement.

Brief historical description

The Tower was one of the defences of the Porte Neuve, one of the entrances to the Medieval City of Quintín. The construction of the city gates is attributed to Geoffroy I Boterel, on his return from the 7th Crusade in 1248. In the 15th century, the medieval enclosure and the Tower were redesigned and restored, and in the 18th century the Choiseul-Praslin family covered the Tower with a pepperpot roof and fitted it out to house the castle archives. A staircase turret and a false pitch at the foot of the ramparts were also added to the ensemble.

The north tower, owned by the town, was levelled and filled in in the 19th century to integrate it into the terrace in front of the church. The Archive Tower, on the other hand, bears witness to multiple historical strata. As shown in this section, it consists of a main shaft on three levels: the archive room at the top, accessible from the gardens of the castle, an intermediate level that is inaccessible today, and a lower level that has been backfilled, which corresponds to its medieval origin. A spiral staircase turret is attached to it, connecting the terraces and gardens of the castle to the former moat.

Sanitary and structural diagnosis: in a state of peril

In September 2013, the Chaillot School’s cross-disciplinary workshop took the Tour des archives as its subject of study. A group carried out a complete health diagnosis. Several disorders were observed on this occasion.

Stair turret :

  • Water infiltrations in the valley between the heart of the Tower and the stair turret.
  • General fracturing and deformation of facings
  • Screw stair steps fractured near the core
  • Opening of certain cracks, such as a sabre stroke connecting the highest window to the right side of the low door.
  • Worsening of the bulges of facings, with unstable parts (plaster falls observed and rubble rubble falls likely to be felt).

Entry film :

  • Dislocation of the entrance aedicula, with overflow of the west wall

Heart of the Tower:

  • Water infiltrations at the chimney stump

Faulty watertightness: tarpaulins not held, probably torn off by the last storms

  • Increased settlement of the walls of the tower’s interior sheds, with cracking of the brick vaults supporting the high hall of the Archive Tower and subsidence of the floors of this hall in the same places. The most damaged vaults are under two windows found open, so they probably received rainwater directly.

Probable evolution of the disorders :

  • Stair turret: accentuation of the deformation of the wall under the highest window, with partial collapse of the facing leading to the stair steps linked to this wall. The dislocation of the staircase would cause the generalized collapse of the turret including its roof.
  • Entrance Édicule: Collapse of the west façade with no consequences for the other buildings.
  • Heart of the Tower: falling brick vaults under the two windows, dragging the floor down.


Following the latest measures announced by the government, the Château de Quintin is exceptionally closed to visitors until further notice.