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Chateau de Lourdestourist information guide
Address: 25, rue du Fort, 65100
Tel: +33 (0)5 62 42 37 37
Opening Times: Daily | Admission Charge
Chateau de Lourdes is set high up on a rocky promontory guarding the surrounding valleys and passes of the central Pyrenees.
Inside, you'll find the first-rate Musee Pyreneen which boasts flora and fauna from the Pyrenees and provides an interesting insight into the local farming tradition. There is also a fascinating rock garden outside with models of different types of local houses plus a model of the churches at St Bertrand de Comminges and Luz. Mountaineers/rock climbers will also appreciate the section on the history of Pyreneen mountaineering.
As for its history, Chateau de Lourdes was the seigneurial residence of the Counts of Bigorre until the 12th-century. Chateau de Lourdes has changed hands so many times that it has undergone numerous changes to its architectural style. Note, for example, the head and hands of funerary statues dating back to Roman times and fragments of an altar.
During the Gothic period (13th-15th-century), Chateau de Lourdes was arranged in three successive lines of defence: the lower wall encircling the rock on which it was built , the castle with its fortified upper wall and lastly the donjon.
During the reign of Gaston Phoebus, Chateau de Lourdes fell under the command of Pierre Arnaud de Bearn and Jean, his brother. In 1379, they signed a treaty that ruled that anything they received from the people of Bigorre in the way of local produce (wine or meat for example) was in exchange for their protection.
The Wars of Relgion (16th-century) and the 17th-century earthquake took its toll on Chateau de Lourdes. Restoration work began after this namely by Vauban in 1685 which gives rise to its appearance today.