Castles in Occitanie

Château de Laréole

Château de Laréole was built in 1579 by Pierre de Cheverry, a son of a great pastel merchant. The construction of the castle lasted three years and the Cheverry family kept the castle until 1707. After the Great Revolution, the castle changes hands several times before it was abandoned in1922. In 1984 the General Council of Haute-Garonne bought the property and restored it. Today the site is open to the public and ...
Founded: 1579 | Location: Laréole, France

Château de Latoue

The Château de Latoue is a castle first built in the 12th century, with major additions and alterations in the 13th, 16th and 18th centuries.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Latoue, France

Château de Launac

Château de Launac was built by the viscounts of Gimoes in the 12th century. In 1148 the castle passed into the house of Isle Jourdain. Dismantled after the Treaty of Paris in 1229, the fortress was rebuilt in the fifteenth century by Carmaing Nègrepelisse. It consisted of four corner towers including an old keep from the twelfth century.  This castle was undoubtedly again dismantled by Cardinal Richelieu under the r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Launac, France

Château de Loubens

From the original Château de Loubens castle remains today the main 15th and 16th century building and three towers which still bear their original Renaissance design. The north facade, facing the park, is framed by two defensive round towers. The high west walls plunge into a pond, remains of the original moat. On the south side, the castle sunny terrace overlooks the surrounding countryside. An hexagonal tower embeded i ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Loubens-Lauragais, France

Château de Rudelle

The Château de Rudelle is a 16th and 17th century castle in the commune of Muret. The castle is noted for its ancient chimneys and for murals painted on the third floor. It was built by Guillaume de Rudelle, the son of Jean de Rudelle, a counsellor to the king. In 1783, Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres, the father of the famous artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, stayed there and painted several ceilings. At the Fr ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Muret, France

Château de Pibrac

Château de Pibrac was built in 1540 to the site of older castle. It was damaged during the Revolution in 1794 and restored in 1887. The renaissance style residence is built of red brick. The castle itself consists of an old body and wings. The north wing is flanked by a round tower with terrace and has a staircase. The castle park, open to the public, was designed by the landscape architect Eugène Bühler in 1897.
Founded: 1540 | Location: Pibrac, France

Château de Saint-Élix-le-Château

Château de Saint-Élix-le-Château was built between 1540 and 1548 at the request of the Pierre Potier Terrace, secretary and notary of king Frans I. Its architecture combines details of medieval and Renaissance style.
Founded: 1540-1548 | Location: Saint-Élix-le-Château, France

Château de Saint-Félix-Lauragais

Château de Saint-Félix-Lauragais was originally constructed in the 11th century. The first Synod of the Cathar church, known as the Council of Saint-Félix was held there in 1167. In the 14th century, the castle was transformed into a country house by a brother of Pope John XXII. The complex includes buildings from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Félix-Lauragais, France

Château de Saint-Béat

Château de Saint-Béat dates from the 12th century. It was enlarged by Henri IV (1553 – 1610). Rulers rarely lived in Saint-Béat; the castle was occupied by captains until the 16th century. In 1588, the Parlement of Toulouse passed a law that required the inhabitants of Melles, Argut and Arlos by turns to guard the castle, subject to a fine of 500 écus. The castle never had to repel invasions, though its strat ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Saint-Béat, France

Château de Saint-Élix-Séglan

The castle was originally constructed in the 14th century, with developments in the 15th and 17th century. The Château de Saint-Elix is a modest fortified house situated on the summit of a hill dominating the valley of the Noue River. It consists of a mediaeval nucleus, a tower-house from the 14th-15th centuries and a two-storey house built in the 17th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Saint-Élix-Séglan, France

Château Fort de Lourdes

Besieged in 778 by Charlemagne, Château Fort de Lourdes became the residence of the Counts of Bigorre in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the 13th century, it passed into the possession of the Counts of Champagne, part of the kingdom of Navarre before coming under the crown of France under Philippe le Bel. It was ceded to the English by the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, before returning to France at the start of th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lourdes, France

Château Fort des Angles

Château Fort des Angles was built in the 13th-14th centuries. After several centuries of abandonment, it was restored in 1980s.    
Founded: 13th century | Location: Les Angles, France

Château du Prince Noir

Château du Prince Noir was built around the year 1500, but dungeon dates from the 14th century. Today it is restored and in private use.
Founded: c. 1500 | Location: Arcizans-Avant, France

Château de Beaucens

The Chateau of Beaucens is a former castle of the Viscounts of Lavedan dating mainly from the 14th century. The site was transformed into a zoo, the Keep of Eagles, where there are Birds of prey flying around the ruins of the castle with a view of the Gaves valley.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Beaucens, France

Chateau de Bramevaque

Chateau de Bramevaque was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The keep is well-preserved, but the enclosure and the chapel are in ruins.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bramevaque, France

Château Sainte Marie

Château Sainte Marie dates from the tenth century. Built by the Counts of Bigorre it fell under the English rule in the 14th century but was be quickly reconquered by the inhabitants. Free access is on foot, by an easy path, from the village of Esterre.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Esterre, France

Château de Mauvezin

Château de Mauvezin, occupied since protohistory, was transformed into a castrum in the Middle Ages and later into a castle. The castle was built by Gaston Fébus (also Phoebus) around 1380. Following the merging of Bigorre into the Kingdom of France in 1607, it fell into disuse and was dismantled piece by piece, its stones being used for other buildings. Today the castle is being restored and houses a historical ...
Founded: 1380 | Location: Mauvezin, France

Château de Tramezaygues

Château de Tramezaygues was built in the 12th century. It served as a border watching post until the French Revolution.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tramezaïgues, France

Château d'Avensac

Château d"Avensac was built in the 14th century and rebuilt in 1830 .
Founded: 14th century | Location: Avensac, France

Château d'Avezan

Château d"Avezan castle was built, probably in 1230, on the site of an older castle of which nothing remains. It was expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries. The castle was originally in the possession of the viscounts of Lomagne. In the 18th century the castle was passed into the hands of several families who lose interest and left it to decay. The castle has been restored since 1970s.
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Avezan, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.