Château de Hautefort

Closely associated with the warrior-troubadour Bertran
de Born, Hautefort was originally a medieval fortress.
The imposing residence that later replaced it was built
for the Marquis de Hautefort, who envisaged a classic
building in the style of a Loire Valley château. Work
began in 1630, to plans by Nicolas Rambourg, and was
completed in 1670. A drawbridge leads through to the
courtyard and main building, with an arcaded gallery
and steep slate roof. Baron and Baronne de Bastard
began restoring the main building in the 1920s, but this
was brought to an abrupt end by a fire in August 1968.
All that was saved were the 16th-century tapestries.
Photographs showing the devastation of the fire are on
view in the 14th-century Tour de Bretagne, the only
surviving medieval part of the castle. Further phases
of restoration were completed in 1995 and 2005.

 

The master bedroom
is decorated with wood
carvings and filled with
antique furniture.
The roof structure of the Tour
de Bretagne dates from 1678.

 

The large drawing room
is hung with Brussels
tapestries. Monumental
wooden chimneypieces fill
each end of the room.

 

THE TROUBADOUR
OF HAUTEFORT
Bertran de Born (c.1150–
1215), Viscount of Hautefort, is
a legendary figure in the Pay
d’Oc. Over 40 of his poemsongs
survive, many on the
theme of courtly love, but
some are of a political and
warlike nature. On several
occasions, he fought both his
brother and the English
monarchy (then Dukes of
Aquitaine) for ownership
of Hautefort. This belligerent
stance led some to blame him for the conflict between
England and France at the time. For this, Dante, in the
Inferno, portrays him as a sower of discord and places him
in hell. He ended his life as a monk at the Abbaye du Dalon.

 

The terrace was rearranged
in the 1930s. Box and yew
have been clipped into dome
shapes to echo the outline
of the château and its slateroofed
towers. This formal
garden is laid out to give the
shape of a gushing fountain,
when viewed from above.

The formal gardens
are best seen from above,
particularly from the main
courtyard, which also
commands a view of the
village on its southern side.