GOURDON CASTLE'S GREATEST HOURS

Gourdon castle's park and gardens in terrace

Having been deserted for a long time it was known as the "Gordo Site" it then became Gordon" and finally Gourdon. .
758 mètres of a remarkable rocky peak.
A stony and lavender scented landmark situated in the vast Roman Province which the natives retained as "province", characterised it and it became the marvellous "Provence" as it is today.
But the Romans went back to Rome and the barbarian settled in. Frank kings conquered and Saracens troops demolished. The castle became refuge and natural shelter to the valley's farmers.
In the IX century, three centuries before Paris laid down the very first stone for the construrtion of the Louvre, the Gourdon castle had already existed. Certainly different to what it is today, the old foundation still exits, grounded in the rock, witness to a thousand year past.

From then on, the destiny of Gourdon was to be an armed sentry, guarding as far as the sea's horizon and controlling the troops in procession. Being at the forefront of France, in comparison to the house of Vintimille, future Earl of Nice situated on foreign and hostile ground.
Up until the XII century, the Earls of the Pronnce, drew up plans of a real fortress to make their frontier more resilient. They razed, rebuilt and strengthened the c astle. Insurmountable high walls were razed in the north wing, and look out posts on the southern and western side of the castle. Later on, with three towers and a dungeon crowning the castle, with a watchful eye, and an arm in hand, Gourdon watched out for France.

Alas it was France against France in religious wars, but Henry-Charles of "Grasse Canaux" was in charge and stood up to the League.
1584 : it was like in "Verdun", one could not go through. Damaged castle? It did not matter. It was rebuilt by refining the architectural style.
1598. Louis de Lombard bought back the seine of Gourdon. Henry IV made the purchase easier because of his loyal services, by exempting him from paying taxes, Louis of Lombard a practising lawyer, began to transform it.
Everyone assisted to the construction of Gourdon. Asymmetrical trapezium architecture was used. The main facade was transferred into the west wing, (defence was no longer the main objective, welcoming was), arcades and a first floor inspired by Paris "Vosges" square was built. A second floor for laborious purposcs was also built. The lord was not wealthy so less noble means were used.
Masters of the castle, the Lombards succeeded one another. Married to a Grimaldi, lost an arm in the battle of Rocroy or became mayor of Gourdon.

MARQUE DE LOUIS DE LOMBARD
c'est le L qu'on retrouve forgé dans la ferronnerie de la porte donnant sur la terrasse d'honneur

"Gordon". Dessin de 1592, depuis Bar-sur-Loup
soulignant les points de défense de la forteresse.
(archives de Turin)


Henri IV

The invasion of Austria; yet another war? First of all Gowdon welcomed Guise, sergeant who occupied its quarters and also fought duels, with the Marquees of Bissy. Duels became a secret of the State because under Louis XV, duellist were shot... or the highly ranked lords were outcast. The French style pruned boxed tree concealed their secrets...
During the terrifying revolution, John-Paul I of Lombard, acquired new ideas ans did not emigrate. The group known as those 'without trousers", demolished all the dungeon in the name of revolution, and reduced the top floor of the towers for the sake of liberalism of a Lord franco-masonry.
1914-1918. The war did not spare the village children. With peace finally reinstated, Gourdon became once again the property of Miss Norris, an American citizen with a generous and cultured personality who was charmed by a past that she could not acquire in her country. She became Lord of Gourdon until her death.
1942-1945. Occupied by the German army, the castl became a privileged station for them. It was finally opened to public visits by 1950. But it only took its true vocation as a historical monument in 1971 when its collections were on show.

Witness to our past, evervone of its stones reflects a moment of France's history.

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Château de Gourdon - 06620 Gourdon - France

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