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 city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.