Château de Villandraut

Villandraut, France

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 remained in possession of the family of Goth for ten years, and then at the discretion of inheritance, marriage and war, it changed owners many times.

The wars of religion marked a turning point in the history of the castle. It is looted twice, in 1572 and 1577, and in 1592 the Leaguers who took refuge there occupied it.The army, in order to make them surrender, attacked the castle and pounded the building of nearly 1260 cannons and the south-east tower collapses. The parliament of Bordeaux itself ordered the total destruction of the building, but this decision is countered by the king of France.

The Lord of Lalanne purchased the castle in 1600. While the architecture remained unchanged since the Middle Ages, there have been many alterations done for nearly 25 years.

But in 1739, the Marquis de Pons who carved all the woodwork and then left the castle to retire bought the castle. The castle has been gradually degraded to its classification as a historical monument in 1886. During all these years and until 2007, it was the same family, Sabran - Pontevès who owned the castle. Since 2007 it belongs to a Bordeaux estate developer, passionate about old buildings and heritage, Norbert Fradin.

The architecture of the castle

The castle of Villandraut was destined for one of the residences of the pope, so it had to be comfortable. At the same time it had to show the power of the Goth’s family, without neglecting the defensive aspects which were necessary for those troubled times.

The defensive aspect is provided in particular by the moats to keep the enemy at bay. They are 6.50m high and 15m wide.

The six towers are also defensive elements which are 22 meters high and about 2.80 m thick. They are pierced multiple archers to defend the different sides of the castle. The defence was also provided by a drawbridge, followed by a bridge opening and a portcullis.

The castle consists of a central courtyard surrounded by three main buildings. The three wings therefore draw a palace in U, which allows a good distribution of residential and commercial functions. The ground floor was devoted to the stables, barns, common as well as kitchens and hosted mainly guards and servants, while the noble houses took place in stages. The chapel was also at the first floor, as is a large reception room and justice respectable dimensions, 30x8 meters, in the body of western home.

Comfort is also provided by 21 fireplaces and 19 latrines found in the castle. The aesthetic is not left with many crossed vaults, wall and floor tiles of embossed paintings and glazes.



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Founded: 1305-1312
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jocelyne Chan (8 months ago)
This castle is crumbling and not in good shape, having been neglected for a long time. That being said, it is still worth a visit with a guided tour since it has an interesting history and in close proximity to two other castles.
wiley coyote (9 months ago)
This is a short visit of about an hour. The signs are all in French but an English information card is available. It is an interesting castle and cost 5 euro to get in.
Gusto Gironde (11 months ago)
The chateau overlooks the center of the village. It's ruins have more to tell than what one would imagine. The association that organises the visits is pretty active in animating the castle with festival and various events.
Emms O'C (2 years ago)
Amazing castle, good little stop to stretch the legs and pick up coffee and cake to stretch the legs
Banu Aysolmaz (2 years ago)
The visit is 5 euro and includes seeing the castle remains and a guide taking you to some special parts of the castle and explaining. The remains are beautiful. We had an English guide that flexibly arranged the guidance based on our arrival time. It was great and very informative. The information here helps understand many things in the region, I definitely suggest.
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