Monday, September 9, 2013

Castle of Lourmarin

The Château de Lourmarin is a converted castle in the town of Lourmarin in the Valcluse department  which is still according to Wiki .... part of the Provence, Alpes, Cote d'Azur region of France.  Now that is puzzling to me.  

  I visited the castle twice because it was the site for Camus Centenary last week .  I was able to visit it during the day as well as the dinner held on the last night.

Apparently the structure itself started as a 12th-century fortress, but was transformed in the 15th century by Foulques d"Agoult chamberlain of King Rene I de Anjou.

 After 1526 the converted castle belonged to  Louis d'Agoult-Montauban  and his wife Blanche de Levis-Vantadour and the new annex made the building the first Renaissance building in the Provence Region.

Afterwards this "chateau" became the residence of the Créqui-Lesdiguières family.   But despite being owners of it, they never took residence, and this was true until the beginning of the  French Revolution.
After the Revolution, and despite having two more owners, the castle slowly crumbled and fell to ruins.

Finally, in 1920, Robert Laurent-Vibert a cosmetics producer, bought the ruins of the structure and employed the architect Henri Pacon to restore it.  

 In 1925, Laurent-Vibert died in a car accident but in his will he donated the castle to the Academie des Sciences, Agriculture, Arts, et Belles Lettres under condition that it should be made into a trust, which would support young artists. 

 This is the setting for music festivals as well as the antiquarian book fair and many other exhibitions.  It has quite a unique garden and pond, now filled with giant carp.

You can see why it would be easy to store a grand piano inside the fireplaces.  This room displayed the kitchen utensils but all of the rooms had such fireplaces.

All of the rooms on the first floor had these giant fireplaces and I saw one with a baby grand tucked into it. 

Underneath the center original staircase to the upper floor

Later I found out that I had not visited the upstairs bedrooms which feature immense fireplaces with pianos inside them also.  Who knows how they ever got the pianos to the second floor unless it was by the wide center staircase which is original, but I did hear the musicians practicing for an upcoming event and the acoustics are wonderful.  You start to see so many of these old places,  but to me they are never ho-hum...too much history to contemplate.


  1. Very interesting and beautiful. What is the stone piece on the table? It looks like a fragment from an ancient sculpture, just part of a foot. Am I right?
    I especially love the flowers and pools.
    Love, Iris

  2. Hi, Iris, Yes, I loved that stone foot. Imagine how large the statue must have been. I don't know it's history as we had no guide that day. dommage.