About Montaner Castle
Built on the site of a castle built on a motte in the 11th century by the Viscounts of Montaner, the 14th century Château de Montaner is a castle in the commune of Montaner in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of southern France.
Brought back to life with regular medieval events, today the castle has been listed on the French Ministry of Culture’s inventory of historic buildings since 1973 and classified as a monument historique since 1980.
Montaner Castle history
Montaner Castle was reconstructed in 1375 by Sicard de Lordat on the orders of Gaston Fébus to protect the frontiers of Béarn with Bigorre and Armagnac. The architect, Sicard de Lordat, was also responsible for the Château de Pau and the Château de Morlanne and is noted for utilising brick in his constructions, its advantages being comparative cheapness and speed.
Montaner Castle today
Today, Montaner Castle is open for visitors to explore the vast polygonal walls with 20 sections supported by buttresses with two gateway, accessed by a swing bridge. Above the door to the keep is the majestic coat of arms of Foix-Béarn, topped with the words ‘Fébus mé fé’ (Fébus made me).
In summer, numerous spectacles and exhibitions are organised on the theme of the Middle Ages and within the imposing tower there are several floors displaying exhibitions, accompanied by short videos exploring life at the medieval castle down in the dungeons. And the far-reaching views from the 40 metre-high tower are well worth a visit.
Getting to Montaner Castle
Due to its rural location it is easiest to reach Montaner Castle by car. Just off the D225, the castle is a 30 minute journey from Tarbes or 45 minutes from Pau. Toulouse is 2 hours drive away via the A64.