At the start of the modern era, Sedan was made up of three village streets: Moulin, Villers and Mesnil. The town was then an independent Protestant principality.
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne (1555-1623), the master-builder prince, gave it a face-lift by re-designing the town in a uniform way. The civil, public, religious and military monuments follow the principles of classical architecture. The Prince resumed the work of modernisation and of increasing the fortifications. This immense work took twenty years and gave the town a starry backdrop that it kept until the 19th century, when the town was downgraded.
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Protestantism's influence on architecture was sober, despite the richness. Metalwork and gunsmiths were increasing and local industry was prospering, thanks to textiles. Sedan's factories then owned beautiful townhouses in which production, storage and living quarters were combined. The fortified surrounding wall created a lack of space in the town and so "multi-storey factories" were built.
The architecture of the 18th century was subject to a rococo influence, where lines create curves and counter curves. The architectural language of discreet ornamentation became more eccentric, with laughing mascarons, fluted pilasters and rocaille keystones.
Evidence from this era:
In the 19th century, the town was prosperous, bustling with its garrisons and factories. In 1822, the Place Turenne was transformed with the new Town Hall, the Palace of Justice and the statue of Turenne by the sculptor Edmée Gois.
The fortifications that had protected Sedan for five centuries disappeared and the old military area became a modern town. A station was opened in 1884, and it was connected to the town centre by the Avenue Philippoteaux, which was comprised of factories and townhouses.
Part demolished during the Second World War, Sedan was rebuilt by the architect De Mailly, who avoided the town-planning of the old centre. Its herringbone buildings and colonnades are characteristics of this reconstruction.
Evidence from this era:
In the 1970s, new districts were built in the suburbs. The Monastery of the Capucins was completely demolished in 1965 to make way for a set of towers called "Résidences Ardennes". Around 1980, the amphitheatre and multimedia library were built. In 2000, a new football stadium with 23,183 places was built.
The Town of Sedan is currently undertaking a renovation of the town-planning of the new districts of Torcy-Cités and Le Lac with the support of the National Agency for Urban Renovation.