A listed, 17th century castle
on a promontory in the Languedoc region
Pézenas, HERAULT languedoc-roussillon 34120 FR

Location

This castle stands in a market town near to Pézenas, a town with a wealth of historic heritage, in peaceful surroundings composed of hills, woods and vines. It was constructed on a slight knoll which, since the 11th century, commanded a crossroads, giving it the appearance of a fortified village, laid out in concentric circles. Its old centre combines a Romanesque church, 18th century houses and several Art Deco style constructions, proof of the prosperity of the vines up until this time. The village is mentioned in texts dating from the late 11th century. Equidistant from Montpellier and Béziers (TGV train stations and international airports); motorway slip roads and a train station are 10 km away, shops are nearby; 30 minutes from the beaches in Sète and the oyster-producing Étang-de-Thau; very near to the Canal-du-Midi.

Description

Gates open on to an esplanade, planted with centuries-old Aleppo pine trees, looking down on to neighbouring villages and the undulating vineyards. This castle is composed of two buildings laid out in a T-shape. The main, north-south facing building is flanked on the north corner by a round tower. Adjoined by its short, south side to the eaves wall of the church, it opens on the east side on to a courtyard and a no-through road. The main facade is some thirty metres long. A succession of four squares of lawn decorates the grounds and a rose bush climbs the medieval tower wall. It can be accessed via two entrances. One, on the parklands side in the centre of the building, features a semi-circular arched door, topped with a broken pediment with an alcove in the tympanum on Doric order pilasters. The other is on the town side, in the no-through road leading to the church. This second entrance, added during the 18th century, features two Doric order pilasters flanking the door and supporting an entablature, adorned with metatomes and triglyphs. Protruding roll moulding forms a division level with the window sills on the second floor on the right-hand side of the facade. Four doors and several windows on three levels are harmoniously aligned on this facade. The framing surrounding the 17th century windows, either casement or with a single crossbar, are simply enhanced with a rabbet. Some are flanked by wooden shutters. The west facade, redesigned in the 19th century, has also undergone restoration work which is how 18th century casement windows, mutilated by 19th century openings, reflect once again their primitive aspect.
The listed roofs have been redone using materials intrinsic to the style of local roofs (Roman tiles).
At the far east side of the parvis are a car parking space and a garage adjoining the fence around the swimming pool, where the bell-tower is to be found.

The castle

A first castle, backing on to a medieval-looking village, was built in the 12th century. However, the vestiges to be found in the current residence do not date back further than the 15th century. Miscellaneous works, carried out in the 17th century completed redesigned the medieval castle which encompassed the parish church. At this time, windows (casement, mullioned and with crossbars) were added to the main facade and other decorative features to the inside. Successive reconstruction works resulted from destruction and the Wars of the Reformation: depending on how heavily the lords of that time were implicated in the “heresy”. Both men and buildings suffered. The works carried out on the castle were motivated by reconstruction deemed essential. The building was then redesigned in the 18th century. One of the walls of the “T” adjoins the church. Saved by a farming activity in 1975, the building has undergone an ambitious, respectful restoration project. All the necessary modern-day home comforts were then added.


Ground floor
In the middle of the central building, a tall doorway with an arched lintel, just like all the windows on this facade, opens on to the listed main stairway. With straight flights of steps around a solid newel, the ceiling above the steps takes the shape of a semi-circular barrel vault and each of the landings is supported by two pendentive vaulted bays. It is worth noting the exceptional quality of the workmanship of these pendentive vaults, both laid out as cloister vaults. Similar vaults and a similar ceiling also appeared in the consular house in Pézenas, dated 1622.
The entrance vestibule provides access, on one side, to two adjoining reception rooms and, on the other, to a bedroom, laid with terracotta floor tiles, and an adjoining shower room. On the east side, at the end where a no-through road leads to the church, a private stairway goes upstairs. Also here is a woodshed, with a door opening on to the parvis.
A few steps go down from the main stairway in the entrance hall to a cellar and a storage area. This main stairway goes up to the reception rooms on the first floor. All the rooms are laid out adjoining one another around the stairwell.

First floor
The landing leads, on one side, to a reception room, with a French ceiling enhanced with three mouldings. It has three large mullioned windows looking out over the esplanade; in the corner, the tower, with the particularity of being round outside and square inside. A door in the reception room opens on to the inner courtyard where the shadow of a centuries-old fig tree provides shade during the summer months. On the other side of the landing, a large lounge-dining room, divided in the last century with partition walls, reflects once again its primitive size. The 19th century, suspended ceiling has been removed to reveal the original French ceiling and a monumental fireplace has been added. The floor has been completely redone and paved with travertine stone. A wrought iron stairway goes back down to the entrance hall on the church side. Adjoining the lounge, a large bedroom, with a shower room previously featuring oak and walnut wood parquet flooring, has a private terrace looking down on to the swimming pool. A corridor leads from the lounge to a fitted kitchen, enhanced with a stained-glass window created by an artist. An eating area is laid out in the old tower. A door and a flight of steps also provide access to the inner courtyard. Further along the corridor are a toilet and a bedroom, with a shower room. A third bedroom, with a southern style, wrought wood mezzanine, a French ceiling, an 18th century fireplace and an adjoining shower room, completes this floor. In fact, this bedroom adjoins the wall of the parish church and features a window, looking directly down into the church choir, which once enabled the stately residents to take part in the religious services from this promontory.
Second floor
The main, straight-flight stairway goes up to the top floor. On one side of the landing, a reception room is laid out as a relaxation and games room. A succession of windows on the east and west sides looks out over undulating scenery, stretching to the horizon, just like all the other rooms on this level. In the corner, as on the floor below, the square room of the tower is used for storage purposes. On the other side of the landing, a lounge, laid out as a television room, features parquet flooring composed of a combination of walnut and chestnut wood. An annexe room at the back is used as a linen room. A toilet is followed by a shower room, another toilet and two additional bedrooms. One of the latter looks out over the church. The other, looking out over the inner courtyard, still has a decor characteristic of the region, with an alder wood cupboard door. Behind this bedroom, a small study in the enclosed tower provides access to the central stairway via a flight of wooden steps.
The garden
The esplanade is enhanced with Mediterranean species, centuries-old Aleppo pine tree and parterres laid to lawn. Spanning a continuous surface area of approx. 1,600 m², with a total ground surface area of approx. 2,100 m², it is completely enclosed by walls. A parking area has been laid out at the west end of the parvis, out of sight of the castle. It is able to take four cars, two under a carport spanning approx. 25 m², and two others on the opposite side next to the swimming pool fence. This in no way distracts from the view of the facade.
The swimming pool is also installed at the south-west end of the facade. It is separated from the esplanade by a hedge of Mediterranean cypress trees and safety fencing. With a depth varying from 1.20 to 1.90 m, it measures 6x12 m. This swimming pool, out of sight of onlookers, looks out over the chevet of the village church.
The inner courtyard, on the east side of the castle, spans a surface area of approx. 170 m². It is home to a wonderful centuries-old fig tree, providing welcome shade in the height of summer. A stone barbecue has been installed here. Ideally placed, it is accessed via the kitchen or the reception room. The retaining wall for the courtyard would appear to be an old perimeter wall dating from medieval times.

Our opinion

This peaceful retreat, far from the hustle and bustle, is in the hinterland of the French department of Hérault, known by some as “French Tuscany”. The assembly of history, architecture, scenery and quality of life is an art personified by this residence. Beyond the simple tradition of legacy, passed down by numerous lords and ladies throughout the centuries, this noble castle plunges visitors into a time when the medieval era joined with the Age of Reason for a journey through history and the interior areas which have been given back all of their elegance courtesy of the constant contribution and commitment of the current owners.
The proximity of important heritage sites and cultural centres will also delight enthusiasts of festivals, whilst the natural surroundings are an invitation to go hiking.

1 380 000 €
Fees at the Vendor’s expense


See the fee rates

Reference 229083

Land registry surface area 2050 m2
Main building surface area 665 m2
Outbuilding surface area 25 m2
Number of bedrooms 6

French Energy Performance Diagnosis

Consultant


Fabrice Delprat +33 1 42 84 80 85

contact

Share

send to a friend Pinterest linkedin Facebook

NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.

By continuing your navigation, you accept the use of cookies to offer you services and offers adapted to your centers of interest and to measure the frequentation of our services. Learn more