Château de Bonaguil

Saint-Front-sur-Lémance, France

The first castle at Bonaguil was constructed after the middle of the 13th century, on a rocky spur, probably by Arnaud La Tour de Fumel. The single entrance to the keep, built above a natural cave, was a door six metres up, accessible by ladder. 

It was entirely restructured at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries by Bérenger de Roquefeuil, who added all of the defensive improvements of the end of the Middle Ages. The main danger at the end of the 15th century came from artillery. For protection, it was necessary to keep the enemy's cannons at a distance. An external wall, 350 m in length, was added to the castle, with lower curtains retaining a mass of earth which cushioned the artillery shots. This curtain wall was reinforced with small towers and equipped with guns.

When Bérenger died in 1530, the castle was not yet adapted for siege warfare, but it remained an imposing fortress. During the Wars of Religion, the two brothers fought in opposite camps, and the castle was taken in 1563. A first restoration took place in 1572. In debt, Antoine had to give the fortress to the lord of Pardhaillan in 1618, before being able to buy it back several years later.

François de Roquefeuil, a distant relative with some claim to the castle, took possession of it in 1656, kept and pillaged it for almost a year before abandoning it. 

In the 18th century the earthworks to the west of the castle were enlarged and laid out as a large terrace and became a pleasant promenade. New apartments were built in the south, outside the inner wall, thus benefitting from a better outlook.

As well as being an impressive feat of military engineering, the Chateau Bonaguil is also a lovely chateau to visit.



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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Valois Dynasty and Hundred Year's War (France)

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User Reviews

Maciej Skrobisz (7 months ago)
It is a wonderful castle. All starts with two big parking spots - one at the bottom of the village, one up - close to the castle. Tickets are moderately expensive (€9,5 per person). It takes ca. 1 hour to go through the whole itinerary. Yet, it is another sad example of demolition to the French historical heritage by the vicious French Revolution... Views are quite spectacular both from the top as well as from the village beneath. All in all a very charming experience surrounded by beautiful French countryside.
Clive Jenkins (8 months ago)
A steepish track if you use the bottom carpark. Lots of character but not a vast amount of info available to cover it. Great views, well kept and used a lot by the looks of the stage and seating arena. Views are amazing Definitely worth a visit, but be warned, there are plenty of steps to negotiate.
Karl Thomas (8 months ago)
This is a beautiful castle to wander round, mostly in ruins but a few finished rooms to walk round. There are lots of original features in the stonework and a lot to see. The views from the top of the tower are stunning. Lots of stairs all over the site, (not at all accessible for disabled). There's a free car park at the bottom of the village, near public loos, and another up near the entrace at the top. The walk up from the bottom is steep but has nice views and many little shops for souveiners, wine, and ice cream.
Andrea Moro (2 years ago)
One of the best castles I've ever visited in my life. Yes, it's not fully intact, because repairs have probably been done until the ancient family lived here until 1950, but it's fully open. It means you can go and discover every angle and imagine yourself back in time. The castle was a particular building built on top of a cliff, at which base there is a natural cave passing through, that originally was used as a depot. The entrance fees, 9.5 euros, are really worth it. And we had the chance to get guided at the beginning from the lady in site that gave us a good overview of the local history, the castle and its proprietors.
Ioana Costea (2 years ago)
Great castle to visit, the tour can take more than an hour! Well worth the climb to the panaromic roof of the Don Jon, where you'll have views over the whole valley. The village below is also extremely beautiful!
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