Duke Louis of Orleans (1372-1407), brother of Charles VI, whilst battling with the Duke of Burgundy for royal power, built a fortress at Pierrefonds in 1397. He thus confirmed his power and took control of trade between Flanders and Burgundy.
In 1617, the cattle was dismantled under the order of King Louis XIII to prevent it from becoming a refuge for his enemies. The towers were ripped open. This ruin soon became forgotten until it was bought in 1810 by Napoleon I. Its appearance of a romantic ruin made it a very popular site in the 19th century.
In 1857, the Emperor Napoleon III (1808-1873) wanted to turn Pierrefonds into an imperial residence. This project was never completed and the castle became a museum and was opened to the public in 1867. Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1814- 1879), the architect entrusted with its restoration, employed architectural concepts to recreate a perfect castle such as might have existed in the Middle Ages. After his death, his son-in-law Maurice Ouradou continued the work until 1885, without ever completing it.
Chateau Pierrefonds guide book