History of the castle

The pope and the Clementine’s Castles


The castle of Villandraut is known as „the castle of Pope Clement ". Villandraut is the birthplace of Bertrand de Goth, who became the first pope in Avignon under the name of Clement V in 1305.


From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Clement V decided to build a castle in Villandraut, which should be the symbol of the increased power of the Goth’s family.


The work began in 1305 and was completed in 1312. The castle was built in just seven years, a particularly short time to the Middle Ages, because normally twenty years have been reasonably necessary for the realization of such a work. This rapidness is due to the richness and the power of the sponsor, Pope Clement V.


With his newly acquired wealth, the pope was at the origin of many "Clementine castles" for his family.


The architecture of the castle


The castle of Villandraut was destined for one of the residences of the pope, so it had to be comfortable. At the same time it had to show the power of the Goth’s family, without neglecting the defensive aspects which were necessary for those troubled times.


The defensive aspect is provided in particular by the moats to keep the enemy at bay. They are 6.50m high and 15m wide.

The six towers are also defensive elements which are 22 meters high and about 2.80 m thick. They are pierced multiple archers to defend the different sides of the castle.

The defence was also provided by a drawbridge, followed by a bridge opening and a portcullis.


The castle consists of a central courtyard surrounded by three main buildings. The three wings therefore draw a palace in U, which allows a good distribution of residential and commercial functions. The ground floor was devoted to the stables, barns, common as well as kitchens and hosted mainly guards and servants, while the noble houses took place in stages. The chapel was also at the first floor, as is a large reception room and justice respectable dimensions, 30x8 meters, in the body of western home.



Comfort is also provided by 21 fireplaces and 19 latrines found in the castle. The aesthetic is not left with many crossed vaults, wall and floor tiles of embossed paintings and glazes.


The history of the castle


After the death of Clement V in 1314, the castle remained in possession of the family of Goth for ten years, and then at the discretion of inheritance, marriage and war, it changed owners many times.


The wars of religion marked a turning point in the history of the castle. It is looted twice, in 1572 and 1577, and in 1592 the Leaguers who took refuge there occupied it.


The army, in order to make them surrender, attacked the castle and pounded the building of nearly 1260 cannons and the south-east tower collapses. The parliament of Bordeaux itself ordered the total destruction of the building, but this decision is countered by the king of France.


The Lord of Lalanne purchased the castle in 1600. While the architecture remained unchanged since the Middle Ages, there have been many alterations done for nearly 25 years.



But in 1739, the Marquis de Pons who carved all the woodwork and then left the castle to retire bought the castle. The castle has been gradually degraded to its classification as a historical monument in 1886. During all these years and until 2007, it was the same family, Sabran - Pontevès who owned the castle. Since 2007 it belongs to a Bordeaux estate developer, passionate about old buildings and heritage, Norbert Fradin.


Since 1983 the association Adichats manages the castle. The association strives to the restoration and enhancement of this heritage. Since 1985, volunteer projects are organized to clear the moat and restore the most sensitive parts of the castle. Excavations and masonries are the program every summer at the castle.