Château de Najac

Najac, France

Château de Najac was built in 1253 by the villagers on the orders of Alphonse de Poitiers, brother of king Louis IX of France. It was erected on the site of an older castle (a square tower) built in 1100.

The inner bailey of the castle forms a rough rectangle, with the longest side about 40 meters long. Towers project from the South and North walls, and there are towers at each corner, including an earlier square tower and a large round donjon from where the defence of the castle can be coordinated. The gate is protected by a barbican.

The castle has a world record with its 6.80 metre high archères (a thin aperture for archers), such a size being designed to allow use by three archers at the same time. A secret corridor, hidden within the walls, links the Romanesque tower to the chapel of the keep.

Possession of this castle, built 200 meters over the Aveyron River, was key to control of the region.

Najac has been near major events of history: the first English occupation, the Albigensian Crusade, the Hundred Years' War, the imprisonment of the Knights Templar, the peasants' revolts, and the French Revolution.

After having been used as a stone quarry in the 19th century, Najac was saved by the Cibiel family, who own it and open it to visitors. The Château de Najac is one of a group of 23 castles in Aveyron who have joined together to provide a tourist itinerary as the Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue.

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Details

Founded: 1253
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alex Haas (5 months ago)
This fortress/castle is one of the most impressive ones you will ever see. It's the location that makes it. Sitting on a - at times steep - hill, you can see it from far away. And when you are walking down on the Rue Du Chateau (coming from the village), then it's just a sight to behold. It's picture-perfect. It goes a good way down from the village....until it goes back up again to reach the castle. It's a fairly short walk - a lot shorter than it might seem. If you have a stroller or a wheelchair it's quite an obstacle though. And the steep stairs and the cobble stones can get pretty slippery, even when it's not raining. So be aware of that and be careful. We didn't go inside the castle - we had our Bulldog with. But the best sight of it isn't up-close anyways...it's on Rue Du Chateau when you walk towards it. A wonderful, pretty and magical fortress. A must-see.
ilan sinai (9 months ago)
Nice albeit partly a shell with little more
David Norman (9 months ago)
Najac is the dream village for those seeking a medieval village hidden from the hustle and bustle of this world. Its beauty is stunning.
william thompson (10 months ago)
A very special place of history in a unique setting. Wonderful views of the surrounding river valley and countryside. The guided tour in French was very thorough. Facilities are limited but there are some lovely places nearby with a view of the castle.
Alex Daniel (11 months ago)
It's a one day tour. Village is very pretty and the chateau has its own history. Many hotels nearby and easy to commune.
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