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Report - Chateau of Saint Pierre des Clars, South France, March 2016

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by HughieD, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. HughieD

    HughieD 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jan 15, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Came across this place towards the while driving to Montredon-des-Corbières having been to Termes castle. I visit a lot of castles and while most are ruins they are tourist attractions and not explores such. Not the case with ruins of the chateau of Saint Pierre des Clars. Also known as 'the Castellas', the remains lie on a hill to the north-east of Montredon.

    In terms of its history, Roman coins with images of Pompey and Brutus have been found in the grounds. A castle was probably first constructed on the site during the 9th or 10th century, possibly as a look-out post. Its position and strategic location explains the importance of the fort during the Middle Ages while in the ownership of the Viscounts of Narbonne. The current structure probably dates back to the late 12th to 13th century. Another possible use of the castle, amusing as it may sound, was to protect sheep during war time. Back in the middle-ages, after iron, sheep were the most valuable commodity and the wealth of many medieval cities was made on the back sheep! During the second half of the 15th century the Chateau became sovereign property and in 1477 Louis XI bequeathed it to his first doctor, Claude de Moulins, in whose possession it remained until his death in 1493. During the religious wars in the south of France in the second half of the 16th century the city of Narbonne was ordered to dismantle St Pierre des Clars and raise the fortifications to the ground. Hence in 1575 the main keep was brought down (or slighted) thus removing the potential threat to Narbonne's security. The de Neveys, de Calvisson and de Biord families owned the Chateau, its buildings, shepherd's dwellings and pastures until 1757. The Lord of Montredon then took over the lands until they were confiscated in 1804.

    The explore was a very relaxed one – walking through vineyards on a beautiful March morning. A path wound round the hill the castle sits atop before the final scramble up to the site. It is very rugged and very much left to nature. The remains are reasonably substantial and consist of the square keep and the main curtain wall which is probably two-thirds complete. The views from up here were fantastic, it has to be said. Here’s the pictures.

    This is the first view many get of the chateau:

    25505171634_7f4818519b_b.jpg img4670 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Came across a number of ruined structures on the walk up there. This is probably something to do with telecommunications:

    25837122500_30d5a30f5b_b.jpg img4716 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Not too sure about these – there were a number of them dotted around the vineyard – maybe for grape storage?

    26109896395_9475aafc41_b.jpg img4715 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    These are the French equivalent to barns:

    26043640301_23f12e7ca1_b.jpg img4700 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    25507409043_84a1a36649_b.jpg img4701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    So to the castle itself. Here’s the curtain wall – some nice brick work here:

    25507429763_2b68d3d167_b.jpg img4705 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Here’s the square keep from its ‘good’ side:

    26084141756_2f6cb62851_b.jpg img4711 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    and with a solitary tree:

    25505348554_14e882aa8c_b.jpg img4710 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The graff ‘artists’ have even been up here!

    26110132365_9122668fc2_b.jpg img4712 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The views really are sweeping:

    25837321260_716f8e713f_b.jpg img4708 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    From this view it is clear that the castle was most-likely slighted:

    26110193325_4f47e253de_b.jpg img4707 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    26110199315_5d8e0ef9bc_b.jpg img4713bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    But it’s still a glorious sight and well worth the effort it took to scramble up to it:

    26084288056_08eacdc3b4_b.jpg img4698 by HughieDW, on Flickr
    #1 HughieD, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
    WildBoyz likes this.

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  2. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
    Regular User

    Mar 16, 2014
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    Reminds me of the ones I keep seeing photos of in Spain; but they keep adding new designs to the old structures to preserve the old parts. In turn this is also supposed to recreate the older parts of the building without recreating them (if that makes sense?). Perhaps we'll start to this in France too, with structures like this.
    HughieD likes this.
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