Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chateau de Portes

One of the requirements when visiting France is to visit at least one castle. The north has few remaining castles from the medievil ages, most of them having been reduced to rubble in the various wars that have plagued Europe. So, the south is the place to go to see castles, and fortunately for us, we're spending a fair amount of time there.

The closest castle to Genolhac is Chateau de Portes, started in the 11th century, and finished in the 17th, with the marquis having the image of a ship in mind when he constructed the final building--the only one like it in France.

It and the town of Portes were built on a sea of coal, which was heavily mined during Les Guerres Mondiales, resulting in the subtle yet devastating sinkage of both town and castle. The town was eventually razed and rebuilt, with the benefit of coal outweighing the cost of rebuilding. The castle, on the other hand, was left to deteriorate with vandals assistance. Only in the last 30 years or so have countless volunteers aided in its reconstruction. Its a small but magnificent chateau, located high in the mountains of Cevennes, and one is easily reminded of the battles that likely took place here many years ago.

(BTW, that's my brother-in-law Simon giving his approval to my photo.)

1 comment:

Flo said...

We bought Dylan a sword (his first one) from the souvenir store of the castle - as authentic as you can get I guess...