Whether they belong to the first castles of the Loire or whether they are anchored on the former lands of the nobles of Velay, the remains of these castles are the last witnesses of a fascinating past. All have their secrets, their anecdotes… We then set out to meet two passionate lords of the lords who helped us unravel these mysteries.

Bouzols castle in Arsac-en-Velay

Jean-Louis Beaud de Brive, at the Château de Bouzols in Arsac-en-Velay, took us to discover the defensive particularities of his fortress. These ingenious systems and its strategic position in the Loire Valley have given it the nickname of “Vigie du Velay face au Vivarais”.

The ancient castrum of Bouzols still overlooks the Loire today, at the place where the river flows into the Puy-en-Velay basin. An emblematic castle rich in legends. It is said, for example, that a secret underground allowed secret escapes to be organized in the event of a siege… Or that a treasure is locked up in the old residence, hidden from everyone's eyes.

Inside a tower, built in the XNUMXth century within a defensive complex, which then formed the advanced line of protection of the imposing keep, a small discreet and intimate oratory has formed, for several centuries, a striking contrast. with the dark and austere silhouette that stands out above the Loire in the Coubon valley.

But Bouzols conceals another even more mysterious secret. The imposing castle-rock, emblematic of medieval Velay, has a defensive system made particularly ingenious by the care that a "Vauban" of the Middle Ages and his stonemasons took to make it invisible to possible attackers.

When you come to visit Bouzols, you will be seized and seduced by this opposition between a ditch, the improbable beating heart of an impregnable fortress and the soft and soothing artistic treasure having now found the colors and the patina that the painter of yesteryear. You can then meditate on the strange bond uniting these two unknowns, the military genius of the XNUMXth century and the painter of the late Renaissance.

Visits are organized from June to September every day except Mondays, at 11 a.m., 14 p.m. and 30 p.m.
Appointments recommended from 5 people wishing to visit together, 15 people maximum per visit.

The castle of La Rochelambert in Saint-Paulien

The Bresset family, at the Château de la Rochelambert in Saint-Paulien, received us in their romantic castle, where there is a gentle atmosphere, borrowed from chivalrous adventures.

Clinging to the side of the cliff, the La Rochelambert castle houses a unique private collection of works of art: Romanesque and Gothic sculptures, tapestries, paintings and furniture from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century. On the site of the oldest traces of human presence in Europe, then continuously occupied since the Neolithic era, the La Rochelambert family settled from the XNUMXth century.

The castle was burned down by the Huguenots of Sieur de Blacon in 1562. Rebuilt by the Marquis François de La Rochelambert and his wife Hélène de Lestrange during the Renaissance period, it was to welcome George Sand for a few hours in the XNUMXth century.

This castle charms, it is undeniable. It prepares the imagination for marvelous legends and chronicles full of chivalrous adventures. La Rochelambert is the castle of the princess of the tales of Perrault. Sleeping Beauty, just this evocation is enough to revive our childhood imagination.

Guided tours are organized from May to September (closed on Mondays) at 14, 15, 16 and 17 p.m. Booking is recommended.

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