The Montdardier Castle

Building Heritage
Principal
GPS coordinate : 43.928397 3.592764

At Montdardier, the houses are tightly packed together at the foot of the stone fortress which has guarded for centuries the access to the Causse de Blandas. In fact, the village is located on the road from Le Vigan to Lodève, from the Cévennes to the Pyrenees, and this main road was used not only by merchants and pilgrims (as the remains of an hospital and many inns testify it) but also by soldiers and marauding bands.

Built on the top of a hill for strategic purposes, the castle provides an unobstructed view out over the Glèpe valley to Le Vigan, and at the East, to Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and even to the Mont Ventoux in good weather.

This 12th-century fortress has been destroyed several times, before being rebuilt with its current design.

During the One Hundred Years War, Montdardier became a royal fortress. In 1365, work was undertaken to make the castle able to withstand to the English who came from Guyenne. In 1469, a band headed by the Count of Armagnac burnt the fortress.

In the 16th century, during the French Wars of Religion (between Catholics and « Huguenots », i.e. Protestants), the castle was ransacked again before being restored. As the religious fights were still raging, the Duke of Ventadour ordered the demolition of the fortifications – the demolition began in 1609 but eventually was not fully accomplished.

In the 18th century, the castle, already damaged after the French Revolution, was harmed again by sacking and fire, and was nothing more than a ruin. But in the 1860’s, Count Fernand de Ginestous asked Viollet-le-Duc (the famous architect) to plan and develop designs for a restoration. A new fortress is completely rebuilt in the medieval style dear to the architect : only a 15th-century tower has been preserved to bear witness to the past, and also the substructive which extends deep down natural rock.

Today the castle is a private property.

Le château de Montdardier  Version 2