Report - - Chateau of Saint Pierre des Clars, South France, March 2016 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

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


28DL Regular User
Regular User
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:

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:

img4716 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

img4715 by HughieDW, on Flickr

These are the French equivalent to barns:

img4700 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img4701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

img4705 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

img4711 by HughieDW, on Flickr

and with a solitary tree:

img4710 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The graff ‘artists’ have even been up here!

img4712 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The views really are sweeping:

img4708 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

img4707 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img4713bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

img4698 by HughieDW, on Flickr
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Is this the future?
Regular User
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.

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