Castles in Occitanie

Château de Balsac

Château de Balsac consists of several buildings built between the 16th and 17th centuries. It was damaged by fire in 1570. and it was rebuilt.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Druelle Balsac, France

Château de Planèzes

Château de Planèzes was built in the 15th century. Today it is privately owned.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Luc-la-Primaube, France

Château d'Esplas

Château d"Esplas consists of a square form building with three round and one square tower. It dates to the 13th century. During the Hundred Years" War it was sieged by English army and reinforced in 1376. The newer buildings date from the 16th-17th centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rebourguil, France

Château de Fayet

The first lords of Brusque and Fayet were the viscounts of Albi in the 11th century, the viscounts of Béziers and Carcassonne in the 12th century, the counts of Toulouse in the 13th century, and, finally, the lords of Castelnau-Bretenoux in the 14th century. In the 16th century, the daughter of Guy de Castelnau, Jacquette de Clermont, married Jean V de Arpajon and her dowry was used for the restorati ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fayet, France

Château de Theyrargues

Château de Theyrargues was built 14th century. The 15th century main building still exists with corner towers. Today it is privately owned.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Rivières, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.