Visit of the Château de Gavaudun

Gavaudun
Visit of the Château  ...

The Château de Gavaudun is located in the town of the same name, in Lot-et-Garonne. It is situated on the southern edge of the Dordogne and to the east of the beautiful bastide town of Monflanquin. These are the remains of an impressive castle, with a terrace that juts out from a rocky outcrop, like the bow of a boat. Open from Easter to the end of All Saints holidays, it is a very pleasant place to visit for the whole family. Interpretation panels coupled with a tour guide (free) punctuate your discovery of this 11th century place (for the oldest parts).

Photos and video of the article: Guide du Lot-et-Garonne


A castle in Lot-et-Garonne, a strategic fortress

At the time, we did not speak of Lot-et-Garonne (these territorial delimitations did not exist). The Château de Gavaudun is located in a strategic position between Périgord and Agenais towards the Lot Valley. This impressive fortress is placed on a rocky limestone needle that juts out towards the Lède Valley. Taking advantage of the geology, the men cut the rock to build an access to the top of the plateau and erect from the 11th century, the keep which is still standing. It is reached by a natural crevice, a cave now equipped with steps to facilitate access and visit to all (it is still very steep, be careful, it's an adventure!). Thanks to this entrance, the Château de Gavaudun was inaccessible on horseback, which was practical to discourage invaders, but also certainly complex for the inhabitants on a daily basis...

Gavaudun Castle
Gavaudun Castle


The Château de Gavaudun belonged to several great families from the South-West. It passed from hand to hand through the vicissitudes of history, which will be told to you during the visit. Built in the 11th century, the Château was razed for the first time (except for its keep and its foundations) by a bishop of Périgueux in retaliation for heretics who had established their homes there. It was rebuilt in the 13th century . Through a game of marriage, it passed into the hands of the Durfort family, who sided with the French during the Hundred Years War, thus making Gavaudun and the nearby Bastide de Monflanquin dissidents in the eyes of the English. In the 15th century, the castle changed families through a new marriage, it is now at Lustrac, of which Marguerite de Lustrac will be an emblematic resident due to her power and charisma. At the end of the 16th century , she left the Château de Gavaudun, bequeathing it to her daughter. From deaths to alliances, the castle changed owners again, then it was lost in the games and put up for auction, sold in several lots. It was recovered by the town of Gavaudun in 1796, in very poor condition! Today, the donjon tower of the castle has been protected and listed since 1862, the rest of the complex has also been listed since 1987. To visit the castle of Gavaudun is to learn more about feudalism in the Middle Ages, in this peripheral region of the Agenais.

Gavaudun Castle
Gavaudun Castle - The remains of the Castle


Visit of the Château de Gavaudun

The visit will last according to your disposition to appreciate this magnificent ensemble, from 1 to 2 hours. A car park will allow you to park easily, you then access the castle from the base, along the rocky outcrop. You even enter through a natural cave, which really immerses you in the atmosphere of this unique castle. Inside it is a real small village with several trades and everything you need to live with maximum comfort for the time. A well made it possible to extract water from the top of the curtain walls and a tank stored rainwater in case of additional needs. There was also a barnyard for animals, a forge for making tools and weapons, 2 ovens (one for cooking and one for baking ).

Gavaudun castle entrance
Gavaudun castle entrance

Entrance through the natural cave and its staircase dug to facilitate access to visitors

Chateau de Gavaudun esplanade view
Gavaudun Castle Esplanade

The esplanade that juts out towards the valley and its superb view

Gavaudun Castle
Gavaudun Castle


You have to imagine that on the large esplanade stood a house and its outbuildings, now razed. Archaeological excavations have made it possible to imagine more precisely the layout of the various rooms and the life of the inhabitants. You will even see latrines there (which amuses the children a lot!). Enter inside the dungeon, to climb it to its top. It measures more than 20m in height, you will enjoy a beautiful view from its summit. You will go through very small and narrow stairs. These are probably the narrowest stairs in the department, they are charming and unusual ! The weapon room dates from the 11th century and it is really the oldest part of the primitive tower. It is from there that we piloted the surveillance around and that we ensured the security / defense of the castle. On the 3rd level, the fallback room is well preserved. It was very probably a place of life, which contrasts with the previous floors by the comfort of its large windows , its fireplace and its vaults. By taking a beautiful spiral staircase , you reach the open-air guard room. It is on the 5th level. The tower once had 6 enclosed levels. This space has been fitted out with a beautiful metal staircase to access the panoramic view offered by the crown of battlements.

You have arrived at the very top of the dungeon, you are now going to go down again, the visit is over, we hope that our report has made you want to visit the Château de Gavaudun in real life!

Gavaudun castle windows
Gavaudun Castle Windows
Gavaudun Castle loopholes
Castle of Gavaudun staircase
Castle of Gavaudun spiral staircases
Château de Gavaudun 5th and 6th floors
Château de Gavaudun panorama from the top


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