Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chateau de Belcastel

What began as a chapel in the 9th century grew into a fortified Chateau by the 13th century. At the close of the Wars of Religion, the Chateau was gifted to a loyal knight named Saunhac. Over the ensuing centuries, he and his family renovated and expanded the Chateau and built the bridge over the river to their church on the other side. The last of the Saunhac family abandoned the Chateau at the close of the 16th century. It continued its decline until it was bought by architect Fernand Pouillan in 1973. He spent 8 years completely restoring the Chateau employing 10 Algerian stone masons who quarried stone from the hillsides above the Chateau. Using these stones, they raised the walls of the Chateau and rebuilt its towers and turrets without the use of either cranes or other machinery.
View from the other side of the Chateau


After Pouillan's death, the Chateau was purchased by an American couple. It is now open to the public and houses a collection of 16th century armor, as well as several galleries of contemporary art..You can visit the gift shop, and there are occasional musical events on the grounds as well. If you're really into all things medieval, you can even rent a suite in one of the towers and stay the night! I think I have to add that to my bucket list, don't you?









The Church of Mary Magdalene from the Chateau
The Chateau doesn't open for the season until March 30th, so I wasn't able to access the grounds. I will definitely make a trip after the opening date to tour the Chateau. I'll share what I discover with you.
Next time we'll cross the bridge and visit the 15th century Mary Magdalene church.

2 comments:

  1. Another gorgeous photo-trip! The castle looks quite other-worldly.

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  2. I'm sorry you couldn't gain access to the Chateau, but it must have been atmospheric wandering around the village without the tourist crowds.

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