The Château de Padiès is a unique Renaissance château complex. The history of Padiès firmly place it within its historic and geographic context. It has been established that the château existed at least before 1209. The Seigneurs were Cathar sympathisers and records from the Inquisition through to the 13th century are testimony to this.
During the Wars of Religion, the château was attacked and pillaged by the Protestants in 1572; the then seigneur blew himself up with the aid of a barrel of gunpowder, his wife and children were taken to nearby Puylaurens where they became Protestant. The son rebuilt Padiès in its present form. Around a hundred years later with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the family reaffirmed their Catholic origins. Later, the young Emmanuel de Las Cases stayed at Padiès; he recorded his fond memories of the generous lady of the house, Marie-Claire Villèle (aunt of Jean-Baptiste de Villèle, a future minister of Louis XVIII), and the gardens populated with boxwood animal heads, espalliered grenadiers, the birds, the fireplace one could sit in. Las Cases went on to become a general under Napoleon, and to write the Mémorial de Ste Hélène.
The last of the Padiès were imprisoned in their château during the French Revolution. They were eventually pardoned because of their “grand old age”. They had no children. In 1800, Pierre de Padiès died leaving his property to his widow, Marie-Claire. She left the château to her family who in turn sold it to the Fabre family in 1826. Padiès remained in the Fabre family until 1992, the date of its acquisition by Denis Piel and Elaine Merkus, the new restorers.
Padiès appears to be a Toulousain hotel particulier transported to the countryside, yet the mass of the building and the diagonally placed towers recall the military role of the château.
The owners of the Château de Padiès are building an environment to reconnect Padiès with its surroundings in a sustainable way.References:
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.
The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.
The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.
There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).
The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.