• History

    14th Century


    Records date back as far as the 14th Century, when the name of the Seigneurs of Arricau appear for the first time, in reference to tributes paid to the rulers of Béarn.

    16th Century


    Jean d’Arricou – the secretary to the King of Navarre (the future Henry IV, King of France) – converted to Protestantism around the year 1570 AD. The Protestant Reformation that took place throughout Northern Europe was rapidly spreading within France, and the Reformists claimed to be returning to the fundamentals of Christianity, specifically by freeing themselves from material goods. May we conclude that it was a lucky twist of fate? as the newly converted Jean d’Arricou, the Abbot of Montpezat, took advantage of the confiscation of church property by rebuilding and refurbishing his Chateau…

    Today


    Despite the Revolution and the vagaries of time, the castle today is almost unchanged from early descriptions: “built upon an ancient feudal mound, supported by a buttress wall, with a southern entrance. In those times, in front of the main building there was a lower courtyard (which unfortunately no longer exists). It is here that the foundations of a chapel dedicated to Saint Martin were discovered during an excavation.
    Access to the estate is through a wide stone pillared gate, some metres away from a steep staircase and the entrance to the Château. This is the only way to access the inner courtyard, known as the Guards Court. The Chateau is to one side of this court, with a hexagonal tower and the Tower Saint Michel on its other sides.
    At the south of the terrace there is a second building, flanked by a square tower, which was probably built during the 19th century. The interior is decorated with 18th century wooden panels (most certainly from a local church), and some fireplaces. A circular stone dovecote is in the eastern corner of the terrace.
    Although the castle has retained its original appearance, many changes have been made over the centuries. This is why the most recent development project undertaken within the last 10 years by the current owner has attempted to erase the ravages of time and to restore it to its original condition. If a few elements of the decor survive, then a few traces of history are there for us to see; details of the ironwork and the architecture reflect the significant history of this small hilltop Chateau in the Bearnaise countryside.
    The Château was added to the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments in 1988.
    The most recent works (2006-2010) comprised: roofing (repair of structures, roofs and copper guttering), interior floors (stone and parquet), compliance with regulatory standards, and restoration of paintings…
    “Man of Béarn, who art thou?
    Not much when I value myself, more when I compare myself…”
    By Abbé Maury, quoted by Paul de Lagor.