About Nérac Castle
A splendid example of the French Renaissance style, the 13th century Nérac Castle or Château de Nérac is a castle in the Lot-et-Garonne département in southwest France. The castle has been listed as a monument historique since 1862 by the French Ministry of Culture.
Nérac Castle history
A stately home belonging to Arsieu of Albian is mentioned in 1088 but the first mention of a castle on the site is that belonging to Amanieu VI of Albret (Labrit) in 1259. The castle was rebuilt between the 15th and 16th centuries by the House of Albret.
The castle was the location of a vibrant court during the life of Jeanne d’Albret, Queen Jeanne III of Navarre, and the youth of Henry III of Navarre, the future Henry IV of France. In 1560, Queen Jeanne III and her court converted to reformed religion after the meeting of Theodore de Bèze, and they welcomed a number of artists, such as Clément Marot.
After the coronation of Henry III of Navarre as King Henry IV of France, Nérac Castle was deserted. The castle was then partially destroyed in 1651 by Henry of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, after the town revolted against King Louis XIII of France and then dismantled during the French Revolution, except the northern part which is now a museum.
Nérac Castle today
Today, the imposing Renaissance royal residence continues to dominate the riverside in Nérac’s historic centre. You can visit the castle but not without booking in advance. Part of the guided tour includes an activity booklet for young people visiting. For those wanting to wander around themselves, soak up the medieval history by reading the wealth of English-language information boards.
Getting to Nérac Castle
Beside the Petite Baise, Nérac Castle is easily reach by car. Head along the D656 and exit onto the Rue du Chateau. Otherwise, the 806 bus stops at Place de l’horloge a couple minutes walk from the castle.