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 Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.