Category Archives: Châteaux

Every Château Tells a Story #14: Le Château des Bordes, Lot

  When I started this series about the châteaux in our area, I had no idea that so many of them exist. There are the obvious ones – Najac, Saint-Projet, Belcastel – but also less obvious ones. Some are just … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #13: Le Château de Cénevières, Lot

The Château de Cénevières towers over its village and the River Lot, which meanders far beneath. The castle commanded a formerly important strategic position and the river, which was once well-plied trade route. My local writing group went on an outing … Continue reading

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Inside le Château de Najac

At least a dozen years have elapsed since I visited the interior of the ruined château de Najac in Aveyron. This imposing 13th-century castle is a landmark for miles around, best seen from the opposite slope on a misty autumn … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #12: le Château de l’Astorguié, Parisot

Last week marked the 19th anniversary of the first time we saw our house (no, it’s not the one above). Looking back at estate agents’ details of other properties reminded me that a small château close by was also for sale … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #11: Le Château de Mazerolles, Aveyron

As you round a hairpin bend just before the hamlet of Mazerolles, you get a breath-taking view of Najac across the valley, crowned by its ruined château (pictured below). This must have greeted the chatelains of Mazerolles (above) every morning … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story: #10 Le Château de Belcastel

Although I have written about Belcastel, in Aveyron, I haven’t devoted much space to the château. Its story is that of a phoenix raised from the ashes. The fortress could so easily have crumbled into a pile of stone, had … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story: #9 Le Château de Mayragues

Time for another château. This time it’s one that has been brought back from oblivion by its current owners and in my view is an absolute gem. Le Château de Mayragues is not in our immediate neighbourhood; in fact, it’s … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story # 8: Le Château de Labro

Yesterday was one of those luminous, mellow days that you get only in early autumn. The trees were turning and it was warm, but not hot. So we decided to take advantage of it to go for a walk and … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #7: the Château de Féneyrols

Our region is crammed with small châteaux that played an important role in its history at one time. Almost every village of any size had one. Now, they are seen as quaint relics of bygone days. I set out to … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story: #6 Le Château de Penne

  Circumstances have prevented me from posting for a few days, but now I’m resuming with my series about the region’s châteaux. Le château de Penne commands a strategic position 120 metres above the River Aveyron on a rocky outcrop. … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #5: Les Châteaux de Bruniquel

Les châteaux? Yes, there are two, built at different periods. The village of Bruniquel is one of France’s plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages). It is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Aveyron and once commanded a strategically … Continue reading

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Every Château has a Story: le Château de Cornusson

  The word “fairy-tale” when applied to a château usually makes me cringe. But there is something a little magical about the château de Cornusson, with its jumble of towers and turrets. You get tantalising glimpses of it peeping above … Continue reading

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Every Château has a Story #3: Le Château de Caylus

  Very little remains of this château, except for a square tower in surprisingly good condition and parts of the original ramparts. And yet, in its heyday, le château de Caylus had dominion over a large swathe of the surrounding … Continue reading

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Every Château Tells a Story #2: Le Château de Najac

  On autumn mornings, it rises out of the mist, perched on top of its pinnacle; while on summer evenings, it seems to float in the sky, lit from below. The fortress is a landmark for miles around, standing sentinel … Continue reading

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Every Château Has a Story: #1 Le Château de Cas

Châteaux, large and small, have played an integral part in the history of France. Some have been at the centre of national events; others have been less affected by them, but nonetheless have a story to tell. This is the … Continue reading

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The Secret of Le Château de la Reine Margot

  ‘Queen Elizabeth I slept here.’ It’s well known that Tudor monarchs imposed on their subjects’ hospitality to reduce their own household expenses. But if Elizabeth I stayed in all the places that lay claim to it, she would never have … Continue reading

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Open-air Concerts at the Château de Mayragues

One of the pleasures of summer life in SW France is the range of events that take place outdoors (weather permitting, of course). For almost the whole of July so far the weather has permitted and, having been starved of … Continue reading

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Peyrusse-le-Roc: A Hidden Corner of the Aveyron

Knowing that the fine weather wouldn’t last, I made a long-planned excursion into the Aveyron Département yesterday. I set off under wall-to-wall blue skies. The trees were fuzzy with spring green and the pastures were gold-tinged with buttercups. The farmers … Continue reading

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Belcastel: one of the most beautiful villages in France

It’s cold, wet and miserable this week when we should be basking in wall-to-wall sunshine. So much for the person who said this summer would be hotter than 2003. And the swimming pool has gone green again. So to cheer … Continue reading

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