About Rochechouart Castle
Château de Rochechouart is a 13th-century French castle, located at the top of the confluence of the Grêne and Vayres rivers in the commune of Rochechouart. The Viscounts of Rochechouart reigned for 800 years in the castle which today is a monument historique.
Rochechouart Castle history
Aymeric I, who lived around 990, was the ancestor of the Rochechouart dynasty. Aymeric VI later built the current castle in the 12th century, of which the keep and the entry châtelet remain. In 1205 his wife Alix, accused of adultery by the intendant of the castle, was locked up in the lion’s cage in the east tower. The animal did not devour her but was said to lay down at her feet instead. Alix was cleared and the intendant was thrown into cage, where he was eaten soon after.
The castle was a centre of resistance to the English during the Hundred Years War with Louis, Chamberlain of King Charles V, companion-in-arms of Bertrand du Guesclin, then his son Jean II and his grandson Geoffroy, who was a companion of Joan of Arc. General-Count Louis-Victor-Léon de Rochechouart fought during Napoleonic wars. He took part in Russian and French Campaigns, and also the Battle of Berezina.
Rochechouart Castle today
Today the castle houses the sub-prefecture buildings, and since 1985 the Museum of Contemporary Art where one can admire the works of Dadaist artist, Raoul Hausmann, and works of international artists from the 1960s to today, such as Giuseppe Penone, Arte Povera, Christian Boltanski and Tony Cragg.
It is also possible to visit the hunting room where multi-coloured frescoes from the beginning of 16th century are displayed, and the Hercules room decorated with murals in grisaille (shades of grey) from the mid-16th century.
Getting to Rochechouart Castle
Only a 40 minute drive from Limoges in the south west of France, Rochechouart Castle is an easy day-trip to make by car. There is parking just outside the castle along Pl. du Chateau.