Come back in time through the rooms and collections of the Château de La Rochelambert.
At the initiative of La Demeure historique, 15 private châteaux in Haute-Loire are opening their doors to the public. This is the case of the castle of La Rochelambert in Saint Paulien of which Thierry, the guide, holds (almost) all the secrets. Come back in time by his side...

A romantic castle with a rich historical past in the heart of the Auvergne

You might think it came straight out of a fairy tale, but don't be fooled by appearances… it is indeed an old defensive castle in question. The XNUMXth century battlements that encircle the facade of the building are the most telling remains.

Leaning against a basalt flow, the castle of La Rochelambert is built on old foundations from the XNUMXth century, a stone's throw from the Via Bolena Roman road “which passed below, specifies Thierry, the site guide. An old road that went from Lyon to Bordeaux via Toulouse”. Checkpoint on the road to Santiago de Compostela the location of the castle was a strategic point!

Although the castle was partially burnt down in 1562 during the Wars of Religion, what we see today of the fortified house dates mainly from the XNUMXth century. The building was then renovated, and as often, the windows were enlarged during the Renaissance to transform the fortified castle into a more comfortable dwelling.

It was Hélène de Lestrange, wife of the Marquis de La Rochelambert, who had the château rebuilt at the start of the 1614th century. She died in XNUMX after restoring the building, but the building had been in the La Rochelambert family since its origin! “They are the ones who had it built,” emphasizes Thierry. The first known lord of the place being the knight Pierre de La Rochelambert.

The Château de la Rochelambert belonged to the eponymous family from its origin until 1923 when the daughter of Marie Auguste Aimé, the last Marquis of La Rochelambert sold the residence. In 1939, it was then bought by Mr. Bresset, a renowned antique dealer who, with the help of his sons, refurnished the castle with period pieces.

This explains the rich collection of objects contained in the castle of La Rochelambert. So many objects that take visitors on a journey from stories to anecdotes and from anecdotes to myths and legends. Do you think unicorns exist? Well according to Thierry, yes… but you will see that they are not a magical white horse.

A romantic castle in the heart of Auvergne

The few treasures of the castle of La Rochelambert

“Everyone comes to visit the castle for different reasons… Some for its collections, others for its architecture, its history or its furniture…”, lists Thierry. But the castle hides many objects that should hold your attention...

The ceremonial bed of the “Hélène de Lestrange room”. This monumental bed “would have belonged to the father of Henri IV, Antoine de Bourbon”, underlines Thierry. A richly carved XNUMXth century solid wood bed whose primary role was to impress “even the richest” visitors.

The imposing wooden sculpture of the "Gothic room" representing the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, branches in hand, while he is cheered by the crowd. A biblical episode commonly called “Palm Sunday”. And a sculpture, made almost in real size, which will not fail to challenge visitors...

And for children, according to Thierry, it's the big throne of the "Gothic Room", the highlight of the show! A real solid wooden throne on which little darlings have the right to sit, a real sword in their hands. The opportunity to slip into the skin of the lord of the place, the time for a photo.

On June 14, 1859, Georges Sand was visiting the castle of La Rochelambert

The Château de La Rochelambert is not only known for its collections of objects… It was one of its visitors who made it famous. “Do you know Aurore Lucile Dupin de Francueil? “Begins Thierry. No ? Well, it's none other than Georges sand, the famous French novelist, playwright, letter writer, literary critic and journalist who on June 14, 1859, during her trip to Velay, paid a surprise visit to the Château de la Rochelambert. A visit that will also inspire a book... Jean de la Roche, which she wrote the following month.

What is less known is that Georges Sand was also a talented artist. Musician, painter and designer in her spare time, some of her works are kept at the Château de La Rochelambert, in the "Georges Sand Room" and are worth a look.

Eight pencil drawings and a color "dendrite" made by his hand during his trip to Auvergne from 1859 to 1873, offered by his granddaughter Aurore Sand to Louis-Pierre Bresset, owner of the castle, in 1957 (here above, a drawing of La Chaise-Dieu). As well as a painting, which would be a self-portrait of the writer in her youth.

Last curiosity of the castle of Saint-Paulien, its troglodyte habitats

A kitchen, a living room, a dining room with fireplace, or even a vast salting room… After a narrow passage at the end of the passageway, Thierry leads visitors into new rooms, this time dug into the rock… Natural cavities, later enlarged and fitted out by man like real rooms in the castle.

Several hypotheses exist as to the role of these large troglodyte rooms: "It is said that it could be an old barracks of soldiers, from the time when the castle was military, or quite simply, with this large salt tub nearby, the old kitchens of the castle" , ends the guide.

How to visit the castle?

Opening hours from January 01 to December 31, 2024
Monday Open
Tuesday Open
Wednesday Open
Thursday Open
Friday Open
Saturday Open
Sunday Open
from May 01 to September 30:
guided tours at 14 p.m., 15 p.m., 16 p.m. and 17 p.m.
closed Monday
from October 01 to April 30:
guided tours at 14 p.m., 15 p.m., and 16 p.m.
closed Monday and Tuesday
booking is recommended

What else to do near the castle of La Rochelambert?

Hike ! Thanks to the application "Rando en Haute-Loire", we discover that the castle of La Rochelambert is on the PR 54 circuit. A walk of 9,7 km and 3 hours of easy level. From Borne (Saint-Paulien): park in the car park near the restaurant La Taverne then go up to the top of the village. Turn right on rue de la Prade in the direction of the Château de la Rochelambert and then turn left to pass under the railway line.

A historic site: The Gallows of Allegre. A former feudal city, the small village of Allègre is home to the remains of an old 23th century castle built on top of the Baury volcano. A huge building that once had 3 towers on 15 areas of enclosures. It caught fire on November 1698, XNUMX because of a poorly controlled chimney fire. The fire left behind only this singular silhouette: the Gallows of Allègre.

A natural site : the Mont Bar bog perched at 1 m. If it is worth the detour, it is because Mont Bar is unique in Europe! Indeed, it is the only volcano of the Strombolian type which shelters in its crater, a peat bog. For walking enthusiasts, a PR allows you to climb it and then go around it.

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