Fodor's Expert Review Tour Jean Sans Peur
This fascinating little tower is the only remnant of a sprawling complex built on the edge of the original city walls in 1369. It is named for Jean Sans Peur (John the Fearless), the Duke of Burgundy, who gained power in 1407 after ordering the assassination of his rival, the king's brother. In 1409, as civil war raged, he had the tower erected and put his bedroom on a high floor with a bird's-eye view of approaching enemies. Carved into the vaulted second-floor ceiling—a masterwork of medieval architecture—is an ornate sculpture of an oak tree entwined with plants representing the duke's family. Children (and curious adults) will enjoy the climb up to see the restored red-velvet-lined latrine, a state-of-the-art comfort in its time. Kitschy costumed mannequins and medieval-themed exhibits covering subjects from food to furniture to hygiene lend the tower added kid appeal. Be sure to ask for English information at the entry. Note that it's open in the afternoon only.