About Château de Barbezieux
The Château de Barbezieux is a castle situated in the commune of Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire, in the Charente département of France. The present castle dates from 1453, although an earlier castle of which no trace remains stood on the site from the early 11th century, documented as a wooden castrum built on a rocky highpoint.
Château de Barbezieux has been listed since 1913 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture and today is open to the public.
Château de Barbezieux history
Built on the orders of Marguerite de La Rochefoucauld in 1453, Château de Barbezieux was in fact a project to provide work during a time of famine. The castle has been the property of many of the great names and richest families of French history, notably Barbezieux, La Rochefoucauld, d’Espinay de Duretal, Schomberg-Vignier, Richelieu, Le Tellier and the Marquis of Louvois, the War Secretary for King Louis XIV.
Sold during the French Revolution, the south east corner was strengthened by the commune and used as a prison until 1820. The castle was bought by the town in 1844, and was partially flattened and restored so it could be converted in part into a hospital until 1908. From this time, the Château de Barbezieux was a girls’ school.
Château de Barbezieux today
Today, the imposing round towers of Château de Barbezieux continues to dominate the local landscape despite being partially demolished during the 19th century. The castle fortifications are still visible and include openings for canons as well as the deep moats surrounding the curtain walls.
Visitors can stop by the archaeological museum and regional tourist office that now occupy the Porte d’Archiac, and the site has a great view across Barbezieux. Although be aware the castle is closed on Tuesdays.
Getting to Château de Barbezieux
Just off the D731, Château de Barbezieux is easily found by foot or car in the centre of the city. The castle is only a 35 minute drive from Cognac or 33 minutes from Angouleme via the N10.