Château de Pieusse

Pieusse, France

The Château de Pieusse is one of the so-called Cathar castles. It is a 'true' Cathar castle in the sense that the site was never taken by the French crown during the annexation of Roussillon, but the buildings are mostly of more recent date. It is characterised by a keep, massive for the time, whose use was essentially defensive. The castle is currently private property and not open to the public.

The castle was built in about 1140-1145, under the reign of Louis VII by the Counts of Foix. In 1225, it hosted the Cathar synod, a hundred Perfects presided over by Guilhabert de Castres, bishop of Toulouse. During a meeting at the castle, they decided to create the bishopric of Razes and Benoît de Termes was ordained bishop of this new diocese. In 1229, Bernard Roger, son of the Count of Foix, ceded his fiefdom to the king, Louis IX who joined it to the bishopric of Narbonne. From 1764 to 1790, the castle belonged to Arthur Richard Dillon, last president of the États généraux of Languedoc and Archbishop of Narbonne.

Only a few buildings are visible. Several parts have been reused in other buildings. The north wall is still visible. On the first floor, two elegant twin arched windows with sculptured capitals can be seen. Inside, well-preserved carved stone seats allowed the ladies to see in the distance the arrival of their lords, for this window dominated the whole Aude River valley and the 'Razes' countryside. Another twin window, more simple, is found on the second floor. The massive elongated keep, in front, is standing only to the first floor and includes a beautiful arched vault.

References:

Comments

Your name



User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.