Dominating the valleys of the Aveyron and the Vère, the castles of Bruniquel are a must in this charming medieval town in Tarn-et-Garonne, listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the two buildings bear witness to a rich history transcribed through exceptional architecture. 

The village of Bruniquel: an exceptional site

ADT82 – Lauriane Donzelli – CRTL Occitanie
Bruniquel, Tarn and Garonne

Perfectly located at the heart of a tourist crossroads between Toulouse, Cahors, Albi and Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Bruniquel is a jewel of gorges of the Aveyron. Occupied for nearly 15 years, the site features rock shelters and decorated caves containing prehistoric art objects of inestimable value.

According to legend…

The Merovingian queen Brunehaut is said to have built the primitive castle in the XNUMXth century, but it was only after the year XNUMX that the city experienced its real boom thanks to the flax, hemp and saffron trade. Due to its exceptional geographical location, the site offered a first-rate stopover for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela.

Edged elegant mansions from the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, the town boasts limestone facades, climbing roses, lilacs and narrow streets paved with pebbles. Among the astonishing particularities of the city, its streets with quite surprising names such as the rue Bombe-Cul and rue Trotte-Garces, this is enough to arouse the curiosity of visitors! 

Two castles in one 

Built on a ancient fortified castrum, the first castle would have seen the light of day a few decades after the fall of the Roman Empire, around 575. During the crusade against the Albigensians, the building was destroyed by the royal troops because it sheltered Cathar dissidents, allies of the counts of Toulouse, the viscounts of Bruniquel. It was on its ruins that the Old Castle, still visible today, in the course of the XNUMXth century.

Following family quarrels, one of the heirs decided to sell the land located east of his castle to his cousin, Maffre of Comminges. Between 1485 and 1510, the latter established a new castle, the young. For three centuries, there were constant quarrels between the two branches. The Château Vieux still bears the remains of these various attacks, particularly in the so-called Knights' Hall. At the end of the 1980th century, the Viscount of Château Vieux decided to buy Château Jeune. Only the Château Vieux continued to be inhabited until 1987, the year of the death of the last viscountess of Bruniquel. Abandoned for two centuries, the Château Jeune was considerably damaged until it was bought by the municipality in XNUMX.  

To see in the castles

Classified as Historic Monuments in 1840 by Prosper Mérimée, the two buildings offer some rarities such as a 90th century keep, a ceremonial room and a XNUMXth century kitchen equipped with a surprising nine-hole vegetable garden, ancestor of the stove, and a Renaissance-style gallery overlooking the Aveyron River at a height of XNUMX meters. The exteriors are just as pleasant with very beautiful gardens offering a pleasant stopover in all seasons.

A famous filming location

In 1975, director Robert Enrico used the castles as sets for his film "The Old Gun" with Philippe Noiret and Romy Schneider. The story of a peaceful surgeon from Montauban avenging the murder of his wife and daughter in a village decimated by a German division remains a highlight of local history. Michel Montet, mayor of the village of 610 inhabitants, recalls: “Every time the film is shown on television, which sometimes happens several times a year, there is an influx of visitors. ". For the filming, adjustments were made, such as the construction of a drawbridge, now destroyed. Conversely, the well in which the main character slaughters his first victim is still there.

Visit the castles of Bruniquel

The monument is open to visitors and hosts many events every year, including the lyrical castle festival, the Vert-Tige plant market and the Batucadas concert in mid-September. Several meetings of craftsmen and exhibitions, permanent and temporary, punctuate the site throughout the tourist season.  

Pricing Min. Max.
Individual adult free visit
5 € -

Bruniquel castles

Bruniquel town hall
82800 Bruniquel
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