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Lavardin is classified among the “most beautiful villages of France”, thanks to the ruins of its medieval castle Château de Lavardin

David Goran

The Château de Lavardin is a ruined castle in the village of Lavardin, classified among the”most beautiful villages of France”, in the Loir-et-Cher département of France.

Built from the beginning of the 11-th century by the first lords of Lavardin, the castle was sold to the count of Vendôme around 1130 during its second century of existence.

Château de Lavardin. Photo Credit

Château de Lavardin Photo Credit

 

It was built from the beginning of the 11th century by the first Lords of Lavardin. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

It was built from the beginning of the 11th century by the first Lords of Lavardin  Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The first castle, that of Solomon de Lavardin, constructed at the beginning of the 11-th century, appears to have consisted a wooden keep on a mote, protecting a manor house on the summit of the promontory. Between the end of the 12-th century and the 13-th century, it was reinforced by three strong towers.

With a height of 26 metres (~85 feet), the keep dominates the village and the valley.

With a height of 26 meters (~85 feet), the keep dominates the village and the valley Photo Credit

 

During the early Middle Ages, the castle promontory was occupied by a cemetery, of which several ditches cut in the rock have been found. Photo Credit

During the early Middle Ages, the castle promontory was occupied by a cemetery, of which several ditches cut in the rock has been found Photo Credit

After Vendôme haf united with the Bourbon through a double marriage in the 14th century, Jean VII, a member of this new Bourbon-Vendôme family, undertook the restoration of the chateau and its defenses.

He rearranged the interior of the keep and added an elegant stairway, which connected the different levels of the chateau.

Completely altered in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was taken by the members of the Catholic League in 1589. Photo Credit

Completely altered in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was taken by the members of the Catholic League in 1589. Photo Credit

 

Ceiling art in stairway leading up to the château. Photo Credit

Ceiling art in the stairway leading up to the château Photo Credit

 

The castle was dismantled on the orders of Henri IV, duke of Vendôme and king of France. Photo Credit

The castle was dismantled on the orders of Henri IV, duke of Vendôme and king of France Photo Credit

The territory remained ferociously Catholic, despite the conversion to Protestantism of Jeanne d’Albret, the mother of Henri of Navarre and duchess of Vendome.

When the young King of Navarre, and Duke of Vendome became a King of France under the name of Henry IV in 1598, his subjects refused to recognize him as King.

Some walls and towers remain intact. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

Some walls and towers remain intact Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

 

Even its ruins have an elegance and incomparable beauty Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

He was frustrated to be defied and marched on the Loir Valley at the head of his army. There, one by one, he besieged and dismantled the fortresses of Vendome, Lavardin, and Montoire.

Here is another read from us: A French Chateau untouched for a century has become a time capsule museum

The castle still has its donjon (keep) and remains of some defensive walls including the entrance through an imposing gateway with towers on each side.