Château de Tarascon

Tarascon, France

The Château de Tarascon is in a remarkable state of conservation, thanks to the restoration work carried out by the architects of the historical monuments. It is one of the most magnificent medieval castles in France. Built at the beginning of the 15th century on a rocky islet, this monument is made up of two distinct parts: to the north, a farmyard dedicated to the staff and soldiers, and to the south, the dwelling. Its location on the banks of the Rhône was strategic, as it served as a monumental sentinel controlling the political border. The terrace of the Château de Tarascon offers a panoramic view of the river, the Alpilles and the Montagnette.

In the 13th century, a first castle stood on the present site of the Château de Tarascon. It was rebuilt by the two Dukes of Anjou between 1400 and 1435 with the help of the architect Jean Robert. The materials used for the construction of the building were taken from quarries in Beaucaire. King René I, heir to the county of Provence, made some modifications to the building between 1447 and 1449 with the help of Jean Serocourt and Regnault de Serocourt in order to make the castle more habitable. In the main courtyard, he had a niche built to display his bust and that of Queen Jeanne de Laval. During his many stays, he organized prestigious parties and made the castle a privileged meeting place. After his death, the monument was used only occasionally.

The Château de Tarascon would be used very early as a place of detention. Already in 1480, a Catalan prisoner, supporter of the King of Aragon, enemy of King René I, was locked up in the dungeons. On the wall, he engraved representations of warships, merchant ships, but also religious and secular motifs. From the 17th century until 1926, when the prison was definitively closed, the prison function was accentuated, and modifications were made to transform the rooms into collective or individual dungeons. During the French Revolution, Robespierre’s supporters were executed there.

The damage caused by the transformation of the castle into a prison would be repaired by the architects of the Historical Monuments from 1932. The partitions in the rooms were removed and the windows were reopened. From 1940 to 1980, the numerous restoration works allowed the Château de Tarascon to regain the look it had in the time of the Dukes of Anjou.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jana Grosu (6 months ago)
Love the castle! So old magical ?
Incisu Uzum (7 months ago)
Impressive, very much intact castle building with lots of rooms to see. We arrived around 15.30 and we realized how many rooms it had so we started to go fast around it. There was very interesting knowledge written for almost each room and great views from the top of the castle. At around 16.30 the guards started to ask us to leave, so we couldn’t stay until 17.00, that was a bit unfortunate. Clean facility, lots to read, cute shop.
Stéphane MAURIN (8 months ago)
Great castle to visit. Self guided. A lot of stairs to be able to go to the top. Going back down was the hardest for the little one. Up there the view is amazing.
lauren milan (15 months ago)
Great visit for all. Can be delivered ne fairly quickly or taking more time. Off season visit and we had castle for ourselves. 3 to 64 yo and everyone had fun. Could use a few rooms with historical furniture to give more of an experience.
Foxes Ripper (2 years ago)
Beautiful and ancient castle, you can go inside for money, there is a bookstore inside.
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