About Château de Bity
The Château de Bity is a château in Sarran, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. The château was re-built in the 17th century after it burned down in 1579, and since then has hosted notable figures such as Leon Trotsky, French presidents and foreign leaders.
During World War Two, the castle was a hiding place for members of the French Resistance, and later served as a hospital. In 1969, Château de Bity was acquired by Jacques Chirac, who went on to serve as president of France from 1995 to 2007.
Château de Bity history
The 16th century Château de Bity burned down in 1579 during the Wars of Religion, in which France was torn apart by the opposing forces of Catholicism and Protestantism. The castle was later re-built by Pierre Dupuy, an advisor within the old regime, and featured a main rectangular building flanked by square watchtowers at each corner.
The Dupuy family kept Bity until 1746 when Roch Dupuy bequeathed it to his nephew, Jean Gabriel Martin La Selve, a squire and prosecutor. The de Selve family kept the Château de Bity before moving to the Château de la Gâne in 1843.
In 1925, Bity was acquired by William Noel Lucas-Shadwell, a British former colonel who had been a member of the secret service and was also an archaeologist. Lucas-Shadwell invited the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky – then in exile from the wrath of Stalin – to the castle, who stayed there between July 1934 and June 1935. When World War Two arrived, Lucas-Shadwell was forced to flee France, and so the castle became both a hiding place for the French Resistance and later, a war hospital.
The Château de Bity was bought in 1969 by the Chiracs. Jacques Chirac had the castle classified as a historical monument that year which allowed it to be restored with public aid from the State. In October 1999, President Chirac hosted Chinese President Jiang Zemin at the castle on a private visit and in July 2012, was visited by his successor as President, François Hollande.
Château de Bity today
Today, the Chiracs still live in Château de Bity and the castle is private property. However, while visiting the beautiful surrounding area of Sarran, drive or walk past the Château de Bity which stands in front of a stunning circular rose garden.
Getting to Château de Bity
Château de Bity is only a 5 minute drive from Sarran along the D142 heading towards Bity. The castle is also a short distance from the A89 which links Tulle and Clermont-Ferrand.