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Chateau de Mauvezintourist information guide
Address: Mauvezin, 65130
Tel: +33 (0)5 62 39 10 27
Opening Times: Daily | Admission Charge
Chateau de Mauvezin is a fortress that has been restored on and off since 1901. Restoration still continues today. Chateau de Mauvezin once belonged to the Counts of Bigorre, the King of France, the Black Prince, Gaston-Phoebus and Henry IV.
Chateau de Mauvezin was once favoured by the Romans who used it as a convenient landing post between Dax and Saint Betrand de Comminges. However, it was Centule, one of the greatest knights of Medieval France, who erected the majority of the walls of the chateau. He received funding from the Kings of Aragon and managed to prevent the Count of Comminges from laying claim to the chateau. However, in 1213 the King of Aragon was defeated against Simon de Montfort and his troops which left Chateau de Mauvezin without protection. The King of England seized the chateau in 1255, 1259 and again in 1284.
In 1361, all of the chateaux belonging to the Counts of Bigorre, were confiscated when the French were defeated in 1361 against the English. Gaston Phoebus was the man who returned Chateau de Mauvezin to its rightful owners by extending his Kingdom of Foix and incorporating much of the Bearn region. It was Phoebus who erected the huge donjon standing at 37m high and 3m wide. He had made Chateau de Mauvezin into an impressive fortress which protected his lands.
Chateau de Mauvezin suffered greatly during the Wars of Religion. It fell into the hands of a protestant garrison who pillaged local villages and much of the chateau. The Catholics then got hold of Chateau de Mauvezin and used the donjon as a prison.
In 1607, Chateau de Mauvezin was bought back by the King of France. It further deteriorated during the Revolution. However, Albin Bibal started the chateau's lengthy restoration which still continues today.
Chateau de Mauvezin has over 6 rooms dedicated to a folk and history museum. Look out for the heraldry room which has the mysterious inscription "j'ay belle dame" written on one of its flagstones.