Chateau Saint-Barthélemy

Also known as the Chateau de Durban it is located on a rocky spur dominating the Arize, Château Saint-Barthélemy was built by the founder of the Durban family, Guillaume Aton around 1093. It was remodelled during the 14th century in the time of Loup II de Foix where it seems to have served a more residential function.

The last transformations date from the sixteenth century, at the period of the Wars of Religions. The seigneury will pass to the family of Foix-Rabat in 1647, It was uninhabited from 1657.  It would already be in a ruinous state of repair when it passes to the Bellissen family in 1690, which take the name of Bellissen-Durban.

The fort is made up of three successive enclosures elongated from the east to the west,  In the first enclosure there is still a Romanesque Chapel de Sainte-Marie, open-air(?), larger than the ordinary chapels of the chateaux. It served as both Castrale Chapel and a parish church for the inhabitants of the village sitting lower on the banks of the Arize. It was originally a pilgrimage chapel dedicated to Saint Barthelemy and is believed to have been here since the XIth century. But a chapel in the interior of the chateau, at the end of a gallery, was reserved for the squires.

After the second wall comes a vast courtyard surrounded by the homes of the soldiers and services. In the southwest corner, a cemented cistern pierced with one eye in the middle of which to draw water. The chateau would also used as a prison during the sixteenth century.  The square tower, larger than the country’s ordinary towers, rises to the highest point at the western end and connects to the Corps de Logis.

1976: Disappearance of the last descendant of the Bellissen-Durban family, The Association Mille Pattes acquires the chateau in 1990 and works hard to restore it.


The Chapel de Sainte-Marie