Tardes Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Tardes Castle

Saint-Macaire, New Aquitaine, France

Peta Stamper

27 Apr 2021

About Tardes Castle

Tardes Castle or Château de Tardes is a converted 13th century castle in the commune of Saint-Macaire in the Gironde département of France. Built between the 13th and 14th centuries as a medieval stronghold, in the 16th century the building was converted into a Renaissance-style mansion.

The castle, not open to the public, was classified as a monument historique for its tower and well by the French Ministry of Culture on 21 October 1997.

Tardes Castle history

At the time Tardes was built between the 13th and 14th centuries, the Gascony-Aquitaine region of France was under 2 feudal duchies of the same names. The Duchy of Aquitaine had been subsumed into the English ‘Angevin Empire’ in the late 12th and early 13th century – much like Normandy and Anjou – eventually passing from Eleanor of Aquitaine to John, King of England in 1204. Tardes, a limestone fortified house of 5 levels, would have been the stronghold of a wealthy landowner.

The Hundred Years’ War during the 14th century was begun over the joint claims of the Plantagenets and the House of Valois to Aquitaine. Throughout the conflict, Aquitaine passed through the hands of successive English kings until ultimately being gained by the French, who gave the duchy to the Dauphins.

The 16th century saw a revival of classical Greek and Roman material culture, which was reflected in a fashionable architectural style: the Renaissance. During this period, Tardes Castle was converted into a Renaissance-style mansion, and saw the addition of decorative columns (mullions) and an impressive troubadour-style hexagonal tower with iconic crenellations on top, boasting a spiral staircase. These additions suggest a period of prosperity in Saint-Macarie.

Tardes Castle today

Today, Tardes Castle is unfortunately not accessible for the public to visit. However, if you are in the area it is worth stopping by to admire from the outside this structure that is still inhabited almost 100 years after being built.

From the ramparts, gaze up at the still-impressive fortress with a romantic arched windows and ivy climbing the walls – a scene from a fairytale.

Getting to Tardes Castle

Located in the town centre of Saint-Macaire just off the D1113, Tardes Castle is a 45 minute drive from Bordeaux. For those using public transport, from Bordeaux’s Saint-Jean station, get the TER train to Marmande, stopping at Saint-Macaire from which the castle is an 8 minute walk (600m).

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