Château de Bonaguil

The colossal Château de Bonaguil stands
majestically on a rocky spur at the foot of a
wooded hill, its towers, ramparts and turrets
fleetingly visible from behind lush greenery.
Founded in the 13th century on an aiguille
creuse (hollow peak), it became known as the
castle bona accus, or bonne aiguille, in
French, hence its current name. In 1483, it
passed to Bérenger de Roquefeuil (1448–1530),
who enlarged it. As the result of inheritance,
ownership then changed several times, but in
1761 it was re-acquired by Marguerite de
Fumel, who remodelled it. Abandoned during
the French Revolution, it was eventually sold
to Fumel’s municipal authorities in 1860. It is
an impressive example of the transition
between medieval military architecture and
an early Rennaisance noble residence.


Great Tower
The key element
of the castle’s
defences, the
Great Tower is
ringed by ramparts,
which were
once covered. It
defended the
inner courtyard.

Located on the inner side of the main
courtyard, the well was dug directly
into the rock, its shaft reaching down
to the water table below. Behind
the well is an elegant Gothic doorway,
which leads to the castle’s outbuildings.

This semicircular
fortification acted as
an area of defence
between the inner and
outer drawbridges. As
one drawbridge was
raised, the other
was lowered.

The inner ramparts and the barbican
are connected by a drawbridge,
which gave access to two gates, one
for wheeled traffic and another for
pedestrians. The drawbridge, which
was converted into a standing bridge
by Marguerite de Fumel, spans the
castle’s wide dry moats.

Because of the shape of the
rock on which it was built, in
the 13th century, the keep is
strangely elongated. Eight hundred
steps lead to the platform at the top
of this lookout post, from which
there are stunning views of the
surrounding forests and valleys.