The Palace of the Dukes of Nevers (in French: Palais ducal de Nevers) is one of the earliest castles in the Loire. It is located in the commune of Nevers in the department of Nièvre in the Burgundy-Franche-Comté region (the historical region of Nivemais). Now used by the City Hall of Nevers.
The Count of Nevers – the title of the ruler of the medieval county of Nevers, which was in vassal dependence on the Duchy of Burgundy.
In 1464 the county passed into the possession of Count Nevers, Retel, Étampes and E’Jean II de Clamécy (1415-1491). He decided to build a new castle next to the old one, which has not survived to our time.
The castle was built in 1491 on the initiative of the latter, who did not live to see the end of construction.
In 1538, the count of Nevers and Retel, François I of Cleves (1516-1562) – from 1539 the duke – made a number of attempts to improve and improve the castle and the surrounding area.
In 1564 – 1595. by order of Duke Louis IV de Gonzago (1515-1595), Gothic elements were built in the halls, high fireplaces, and windows in the Renaissance style in the southern facade.
In 1564 -1565. the castle was owned by his wife, Duchess Nevers, Countess (since 1581 – Duchess) Retelya Henriette of Cleves (1542 – 1601). Later, the palace became the property of Duke Charles III de Gonzago, who in 1659 handed it over to the first minister of the French kingdom, Cardinal J. Mazarin (1602 – 1661). His relatives were able to save the palace until the beginning of the French Revolution of 1789. The heiress of the last Duke of Nevers, Madame Cosse – Brissac, in 1810 sold the castle and its land to the city of Nevers and the department, then the Palace of Justice was located here. New windows were installed in it and a central entrance was built.
In 1840 the castle received the status of a cultural monument and its restoration began.
At the end of the 1970s, in line with the policy of restoration and reconstruction of the beautiful historical monuments of Nevers, there was a proposal to transfer the Palace of Justice to the old episcopal palace.
In the 1980s many years of restoration began here under the leadership of Pierre Beregovoy (on May 1, 1993, he was driven to suicide by his malicious accusers). In the course of it, as a result of excavations, many artillery pieces were discovered, one of them – the most beautiful – from the 14th century, is stored in the municipal archaeological repository of Nevers; this is the only unique gun in France.
In 1980, the castle again came into the possession of the municipality, today it houses the city hall, city hall office, meeting room, tourist office, exhibition rooms and reception, a permanent exhibition on the history of the city and a fish aquarium, as well as the Museum of Ceramics. The central part serves for ceremonial receptions, the two extreme ones serve as living quarters. The main building is 53 m long and 11 m wide. Today the northern facade is made in the Neo-Gothic style of the 19th century, the southern facade is in the Renaissance style. The castle has 3 multi-level towers, two of them are the oldest. In the central tower there is an honorary staircase. The interior decor is made up of numerous coats of arms of representatives of the Nevers family.
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