The Château de Portes overlooks the Regordane, an ancient avenue used by the pilgrims of Saint-Giles and the Croisés on their way towards the Holy Land for a distance of ten miles. The Anduze, Randon and Polignac families paid homage to the abbot of Saint-Pierre-de-Sauve for this castle between the 11th and the 14th centuries.
Raymond Guillaume de Budos, the nephew of Pope Clement V, bought the seigniory in 1322, and added at least two additional flanks to the castle in 1384. Thibaud de Budos recovered the castle after deposing his father André, who had joined with the English at the beginning of the Hundred Years' War.
The seigniory became increasingly rich and powerful until Louis XII set it up as a marquisat in favour of Antoine Hercules de Budos, to whom is undoubtedly owed the form of the present castle.
The castle was sold to king Louis XVI in 1781. With the French Revolution, the castle was nationalised and sold to six successive owners. In 1841, in the hands of the Vernede family, the monument was restored from its decrepit condition.
In 1929, following the intensive exploitation of the coal mines under the site, the ground broke down ruining the castle and forcing its evacuation. The village was rebuilt about 300 metres further. Circa 1960, the grounds were stabilised and in 1972 an association was formed to recover the castle. It has been classified as a historical monument since 1984.
The castle has a singular architectural style among castles in Europe because of its 49 degree spurs in the shape of a ship's bow, which earned the castle its nickname of a vessel in the Cévennes.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.