Château of Vauvenargues

Vauvenargues, France

The Château of Vauvenargues is a fortified bastide in the village of Vauvenargues, just outside the town of Aix-en-Provence.

Built on a site occupied since Roman times, it became a seat of the Counts of Provence in the Middle Ages, passing to the Archbishops of Aix in the 13th century. It acquired its present architectural form in the 17th century as the family home of the marquis de Vauvenargues. After the French revolution it was sold to the Isoard family, who despite their humble origins eventually installed their coat of arms in the chateau. 19th century additions include a ceramic maiolica profile in the Italian renaissance style of René of Anjou, one of the former owners, and a small shrine containing the relics of St Severin.

In 1929 the chateau was officially listed as a historic monument. In 1943 it was sold by the Isoard family to three industrialists from Marseille, who stripped it of its furnishings and mural decoration, some of which still survives in the Château of La Barben. In 1947 it became a vacation centre for a maritime welfare institution.

It was acquired in September 1958 by the exiled Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, seeking a more isolated working place than his previous home, 'La Californie' in Cannes. He occupied and remodeled the chateau from 1959 until 1962, after which he moved to Mougins. He and his wife Jacqueline are buried in the grounds of the chateau of Vauvenargues, which is still the private property of the Picasso family. Their tomb is a grassy mound surmounted by La Dame à l'offrande (1933), a monumental sculpture that previously guarded the entrance of the Spanish pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937.



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Founded: 17th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

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User Reviews

KH Kim (2 years ago)
It is a quiet and peaceful village, where you can see the castle where Picasso lived with his wife, Jacqueline, and was buried. There is a sad story that Jacqueline killed herself by gunshot at the Picasso’ grave located in the castle. But the castle is not open to the public. You can see the castle surrounded by the trees from a distance. There are a parking lot free of visitors at the entrance of the village and restaurants commanding a fine view.
MV Luong (3 years ago)
Good excursion to small town outside of Aix-en-Provence, leasure walking for the young and old. Keep walking and you'll pass by a surprise gushing water fall...such a treat!
Ray Morris (5 years ago)
Picasso's final resting place, closed to the public but highly visible. Still owned by the family.
Sebestyén Bak (5 years ago)
Be sure to have The best view: by the road upwards. From down, it is not accessible
Dr Tharmalingam Sivarupan (7 years ago)
Nice region to visit but no public access inside the castle as this is a private property, but it is listed as a national historic monument in France. Walking or bike ride around this region would be nice.
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