Masterpiece of the Provençal Renaissance style, enjoy its free courtyard and book for a visit of the Potery Museum in the cellars. More than 1000m2 of exhibition. On the spot, you'll also find the Visitor Information Centre Luberon Cote sud.
This historic chateau is now just a ruin, but an impressive one. Its long and turbulent story is supposed to go back to Roman times, when a watchtower was built - but this is perhaps just hearsay. What we do know for sure dates from the 11th Century, th eyear 1039 to be precise, when a castle is first mentioned in the records, althought we do not know where it stood exactly.
It then belonged to the Counts of Forcalquier, and later, in the 13th century, to a branch of the de Sabran family. In the 15th century it was part of the estate of the d'Agoult family, and, as the center of a rich baronetcy, was already an impressive edifice. In his inventory, dated 1491, Foulque d'Agoult talks of a keep and the two round North towers. The buildings at the South end, however, date from the 16th century.
The château having changed hands, the new owners, the de Bolliers (or Bouliers) family undertook the important transformations that were to give it its definitive appearence. In his youth, Baron Jean Louis Nicolas de bouliers Cental had lived at the court of Henri II of France, and now wanted to build a château in Provence that could be compared favourably with the best that the Ile de France had to offer. He was inspired by the Louvre, Fontainebleau, Anet, and especially Ecouen,then belonging to the Montmorrency family. The plan of this castle was more or less copied at La Tour d'Aigues.
Between 1550 and 1566 the splendid square towers at either end of the South wall were built, the courtyard in front of the keep was laid out, and the keep, along with the North towers refurbished in order to match the new additions. Finally, in 1571, with the construction of the magnificent central gateway, inspired by the triumphal arches of Roman Antiquity, the building was completed.
Due to these works, the castle underwent a transformation : from brooding medieval stronghold it was turned into a sunny palace, and a centre for all wordly pleasures and delights. It was now at the height of its glory. François 1er visited it in 1537, then Catherine de Medicis in july, 1579.
It was bought in 1719 by the De Bruny family from Marseilles. More works were then undertaken outdoors, in order to landscape terraced gardens to the East and the North. An orangery was built, as well as greenhouses, aviaries and perhaps a menagerie. There was even a Grand Canal for jousting and such water games and entertainments on the West side of the park. Jean Baptiste Jérôme de Bruny was quite a learned man, interested in the science of agronomy, as well as in the arts. He was a passionate collector, founded an earthenware factory at La Tour d'Aigues, and invited many interesting and famous visitors to stay, for instance Arthur Young.
Unfortunately, the castle was damaged by an accidental fire in 1780, and later in 1792 set alight on purpose by the Revolutionaries, and completely destroyed. It was left in an abandonned state, and systematically pillaged, for nearly a century, until in 1883 it was declared an "Historic monument" and bought by the Departement de Vaucluse in 1897. It has been partially restored under the auspices of the Conseil General, and, since 1985, has been open to the public. Now,with the various cultural events, concerts, and art exhibitions that are held within its walls, the Château de La Tour d'Aigues may be said to be once again worthy of its glorious past.
Hélène Lézaud, city historian
From 01/04 to 30/09.
Closed on Sunday.
July & August:
Monday: 2.30- 6 pm.
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 12:30 pm and 2.30 to 6 pm.
April, May, June and September:
Monday: 2 to 6 pm.
Monday to Friday: 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2 to 6 pm.
Saturday: 10 am to 12:30 pm.
Full price: 3.50 €
Tarif réduit: 1.50 €.
Free entry for children < 12 years, press.
Mountain view, Close to a public transportation, Village centre, Lake 5 km away, River 5 km away, Bus stop < 500 m, View over the vineyards, Overview on river,
Geographic perimeter :