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Châteaurenard Castle


Gallery of 13 photos for Châteaurenard Castle

Châteaurenard Castle is the iconic fortified Medieval château standing above the small town of Châteaurenard.
 
The castle is said to date from the 13th and the 15th centuries. The area was the domain of the local ruling family Châteaurenard going back at least to the 10th century: a reference from 970 mentions "Eldeberthus de Castro-Raynardus" as the first lord of Châteaurenard, and another 10th century document has it listed as Castellum Rainardi.

 Chateaurenard castle photo-2 Only two of the original four towers remain of the castle, the Three-Daggers tower at the left and the Griffon tower at the right. The 3-daggers tower has a cut-away interior wall for handy viewing [photo 6]. The name comes, no doubt, from the engraving at the peak of the vaulted ceiling [photo 6]. The more intact tower, at the southern corner, is the Griffon tower [photo 4].

The Counts of Provence took control in 1218, so the origins of the current castle ruins probably were built then. The "15th century" part of the origins would have been from the time the Beauvau family took possesion of the lands.

 Chateaurenard castle photo-11 The 15th-century version of the castle can be seen from the marvelous scale model and draqings in the castle's Benoit XIII Museum, [photo 11 and photo 12]

In 1589, La Valette, more formally known as Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, Duke d'Epernon, destroyed the Châteaurenard Castle during his campagne to set up an independent government of Provence in opposition to the first Bourbon king Henry IV. This same year, La Valette also attacked the village of Flayosc, pillaging the place, setting it alight and massacring the local lord and many of the inhabitants.

La Valette's "destruction" of the Châteaurenard Castle was apparently incomplete, since Henry IV continued to dismantle the site in 1596.

In 1589, La Valette, more formally known as Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, Duke d'Epernon, destroyed the Châteaurenard Castle during his campagne to set up an independent government of Provence in opposition to the first Bourbon king Henry IV. This same year, La Valette also attacked the village of Flayosc, pillaging the place, setting it alight and massacring the local lord and many of the inhabitants.

La Valette's "destruction" of the Châteaurenard Castle was apparently incomplete, since Henry IV continued to dismantle the site in 1596.

The chateau houses the Benoit XIII Museum, depicting the history of the castle as well as its resident Pope Benedict (Benôit) XIII. (See the Châteaurenard page for museum hours.)

Benoit XIII escaped from the beseiged Pope's Palace in Avignon on the night of 11-12 March, 1403 and took refuge in the Châteaurenard castle. Having gained his liberty from his untenable position in Avignon, Benoit XIII regained his prestige and his authority and was able to return to the Pope's Palace. He was again driven out of Avignon, this time by the return of the plague, and took up residence in the Castle of the Sorgues in Carpentras.

According to legend, the Countess Emma lead the defense of the castle against the attacking Saracens (8th century). Following her resounding victory, when she discovered the body of her husband on the field of battle she cried out in anguish and died. Since that time her ghost is said to appear at night on the battlements of the castle Châteaurenard.

In the stairwell of the 3-daggers tower is a large 13th-century inscription. It's said to be a troubedor's tale, typical of the time, to praise the castle and be humorous at the same time [photo 13].

In 1382, Queen Jane (la reine Jeanne), the barronesse of Châteaurenard, was received by Gabriel de Valori, the viceroy of Naples. Gabriel III de Valori (1412-1469) was the Baron of Châteaurenard in the 15th century.

Two kings of France were visitors to the castle: Philip III (the Bold) in the 13th century, and Louis IX and Louis XIV (the Sun King) who stopped by in 1649. When Philip the Bold stayed here, he was on his way to Paris with the saintly relics of his father Louis IX.

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