Castles in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Donjon Lacataye

The Donjon Lacataye is the keep of a 14th-century castle, constructed by order of Gaston Phébus in the commune of Mont-de-Marsan.  La Cataye consists of two joined Romanesque houses, which one sees perfectly while entering the current museum whose central internal wall includes Romanesque windows, a sign that one of the two houses was built before the second. These houses belonged to the Viscount"s family ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Mont-de-Marsan, France

Château de Pau

The Château de Pau dominates the center of the city Pau. Henry IV of France and Navarre was born here on December 13, 1553 and it was once used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power. Pau Castle was founded in the Middle Ages. Work before any military, is a castle typically built on top of the hill overlooking the Gave bounded by ravine Hédas. In the twelfth century Gaston IV of Béarn ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pau, France

Château-Vieux

The Château-Vieux ('Old castle') in Bayonne is built on the site of an ancient Roman castrum which housed the garrison and administration of the region. From the end of the 11th century the viscounts of Labourd built the fortress based on three existing Roman towers strengthened. The castle was refortified in the 17th century by Vauban plans.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bayonne, France

Château des Rudel

Château des Rudel was built in the 12th century and is now ruins. It is located inside the Vauban citadel of Blaye. It is a relic of the medieval era preserved during the construction of the citadel of Blaye in the 17th century. The chateau was besieged by Protestants during the French Wars or Religion in the 16th century.  
Founded: 12th century | Location: Blaye, France

Château-Neuf

Sitting in the highest point of Petit Bayonne you will find the  Château-Neuf (“new castle”) built in the 15th century by Charles IV. This massive building now belongs to the university and is unfortunately closed to the public.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bayonne, France

Château d'Aon

Château d"Aon was built in the 13th century to the site of 11th century wooden Motte-and-bailey style castle. It was transformed as a residence in the 17th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hontanx, France

Château de Cadillac

Château de Cadillac is located at 35 km from the city of Bordeaux, it overlooks the Garonne river and the walled town of Cadillac. The monument was built at the request of Jean-Louis de Nogaret de la Valette (1554-1642), first Duke of Épernon, its primary function was to house the Dukes of Épernon. The castle thus embodies the all-powerful duke, who amasses wealth and honors before he died in disgrace during the reign ...
Founded: 1598-1634 | Location: Cadillac, France

Château de Roquetaillade

The Château de Roquetaillade in Mazères was originally built by Charlemagne on his way tho the Pyrenees. In 1306, with the permission of the English King Edward I, Cardinal de la Mothe, nephew of Pope Clement V built the second fortress (le Château Neuf). This new castle was square in plan with six towers and a central keep. The entire structure was restored and transformed by Viollet-le-Duc and one of his pupils, Du ...
Founded: 1306 | Location: Mazères, France

Château de La Brède

The Château de La Brède is a feudal castle in the commune of La Brède. The castle was built in the Gothic style starting in 1306, on the site of an earlier castle. It is surrounded by water-filled moats and an English garden, in the centre of a Bordelais vineyard. Despite modifications over the centuries, it has kept its character as a fortress. The philosopher Montesquieu was born, lived and wrote the ma ...
Founded: 1306 | Location: La Brède, France

Château de Cazeneuve

The Château de Cazeneuve was built along the gorges of the River Ciron and the stream of Honburens. The early castle was the former residence of the Kings of Navarre, the property of King Henry IV. It was built by Amanieu VII d"Albret on a rocky bank. It included in its enclosure the medieval mound of the 11th century preceded by a vast courtyard whose curtain walls protected the town. Due to financial problems K ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Préchac, France

Château de Rauzan

Château de Rauzan was erected in the 13th century by John, King of England. It then became the property of Rudel of Bergerac (1223–1320), then of Guillaume-Raymond of Madaillan (1320–1391) who fought at the side of the Black Prince, governor of Guyenne of 1356 to 1370, at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and at the imprisonment of the King of France, John II ('John the Good'). In October 1370, Bertrand of Gu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rauzan, France

Château d'Agassac

According to a local tradition, a Latin inscription found in the underground galleries of the Château D"Agassac dates its construction back to the 13th century. But the first of its known lords was Guillaume-Raymond d"Agassac in 1172, Lord of Blanquefort. Since 1238, the Gaillard de Gassac Family is owner of the seigniory of Agassac which extends more than 800 hectares. Its lord is vassal of king of England, E ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ludon-Médoc, France

Château de Lormont

Built around 1060, the Château de Lormont probably saw Eleanor of Aquitaine stay here during her marriage to King Louis VII of France. The Prince of Aquitaine, also known as the Black Prince lived there. The archbishops of Bordeaux possessed the château in the 14th century. In 1453, negotiations to end the Hundred Years War also took place there. After having been successively destroyed and rebuilt, notably in 1626 by a ...
Founded: c. 1060 | Location: Bordeaux, France

Château des Quat'Sos

The Château des Quat"Sos name is of Gascon origin, describing the identical appearance of the four corner towers, the 'Four Sisters'. The castle is located on the promontory overlooking the confluence of the Garonne and the tributary Charros. In 1224, permission was granted by King Louis VIII of France to build a castle. The castle was completed by King Henry III of England, while Duke of Aquitaine, t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: La Réole, France

Château de Villandraut

The Château de Villandraut was built by Bertrand de Goth when he was elected Pope under the name of Clement V. Born in Villandraut, he maintained throughout his life a special affection for his region of origin. This sumptuous castle was destined to serve as his residence during his stays in Aquitaine. Château de Villandraut was constructed between years 1305 and 1312. After the death of Clement V in 1314, the castle r ...
Founded: 1305-1312 | Location: Villandraut, France

Château de Morlanne

This imposing brick castle Château de Morlanne, forming a polygonal enceinte, is a powerful 14th century structure with gateways, a courtyard, moats and a high keep. Inside is a manor house dating from the end of the 16th century. The castle, standing on a motte at the southern end of the village, was built about 1370 by the architect Sicard de Lordat for Arnaud-Guilhem, the brother of Gaston Fébus (Gaston III ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Morlanne, France

Château de Budos

The Château de Budos is largely the work of Raymond Guilhem de Budos, nephew of Pope Clement V. Originally built by his uncle, he remodelled it from 1306, the old family castle taking on the architectural layout of the neighbouring castle, the Château de Villandraut. In 1422-23, the English king Henry VI took possession of the castle and put it in the charge of Pons, lord of Castillon. Around 1433, Henry conceded the ...
Founded: 1306 | Location: Budos, France

Château de Vayres

The Château de Vayres is a medieval castle, located on the banks of the Dordogne River. Excavations found pottery ovens, indicating that the site had a large population in Gallo-Roman times, and that there was a wooden fort on the site, and later a Gallo-Roman oppidum, or fortress. The castle was built in the 11th century to protect the city of Bordeaux. It was made of stone and surrounded by a wooden palisade, as a ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Vayres, France

Château de Langoiran

Château de Langoiran was built in the 13th century by the Escoussans family, one of the most famous families of Gascony. The donjon (fortified central tower) is one of the largest in France. It overlooks the Garonne Valley and offers a good view for visitors. The castle of Langoiran was owned successively by the families of Escoussans, Albret (from 1345 to 1378), and Montferrand (from 1378 to 1590). Bertrand III de Mon ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Langoiran, France

Château de Bellocq

Château de Bellocq dates from the end of the 13th century and consists of an irregular quadrilateral reinforced by seven towers, linked to the fortified house built in 1281. It was remodelled during the 14th century. The castle was burned down by Louis XIII in 1620 to prevent it being used by Protestants. At the end of the 13th century, Bellocq was at the frontier with English controlled Guyenne. Gaston VII Moncade ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Bellocq, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.