About Roche Courbon Castle
Château de la Roche Courbon is a large 15th century château developed from an earlier castle, in the Charente-Maritime département of France. Today, the château is privately owned and classified as an historic monument while the garden is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France.
Roche Courbon Castle history
A castle was built around 1475 by Jehan de Latour upon a rocky outcrop in the midst of marshland on a site which had been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 17th century, the Courbon family, who had occupied the castle for two centuries, transformed it into a more comfortable residence.
As the marquis would not flee during the French Revolution, the château was not sold. His daughter Charlotte married an aide de camp of Napoleon however because upkeep was so expensive. Despite the advantageous match, the château nevertheless became abandoned during the following century.
More alterations were made in the 18th century, but Roche Courbon Castle was eventually sold in 1817 and then abandoned. Purchased in 1920 by Paul Chénereau, who restored the château and its gardens, Roche Courbon is still owned and inhabited by his descendants.
Roche Courbon Castle today
Today, Roche Courbon Castle is open for guided tours throughout the summer (June to August), giving you the chance to explore the chateau’s interior that contains decor from the 17th century – in particular a bathroom covered with painted wood panels and sculptures from 1662.
The château has a typically French garden redone in 1936-1939, featuring a terrace with an Italian gallery, a monumental stairway, a parterre with four compartments and a fountain, topiary, and statues. The property is entered via the Porte des Lions, within which stands the ancient keep tower.
The gardens include orchard, flower garden, geometrical flower beds and lawns surrounding a small lake (‘mirror pool’) with the river Bruant flowing through the gardens, feeding the water features.
Hidden in the grounds are also some Stone Age cave dwellings, at the base of sandstone cliffs, encased by woodland. Any prehistoric finds from the site are housed in the keep museum.
Getting to Roche Courbon Castle
Just outside of Saint-Porchaire off the D137, Roche Courbon Castle is easily reached by car. An hour and a half drive from Bordeaux along the A10, the castle is also only 50 minutes from Cognac.