V Visite privée Cévennes
A castle in the Cévennes
CHÂTEAU DE MANDAGOUT STANDS ON THE FIRST SOUTHERN FOOTHILLS OF THE CÉVENNES, IN THE GARD, IN A BREATHTAKING ENVIRONMENT. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL HISTORICAL RESIDENCE.
TEXT OLIVIA ROLAND
The Mandagout commune is composed of many hamlets scattered in a granite landscape of a mid-mountain range. On the edge of one of the hamlets, in the centre of a sort of crater, the castle stands on a promontory with a 180°, south-facing view over the surrounding country. This remarkable building of sober architecture was built on a rocky outcrop in the ﬁfteenth century, on the foundations of a castle from the thirteenth, in a dominant position, in the wild and preserved landscape of the Cévennes foothills The ruins of the eleventh century chapel are the ﬁrst remains dating from the time when the Benedictine monks settled in the Cévennes valleys; they established monasteries and chapels around which the peasants would gather under the protection of the church. From the thirteenth century, there only remains the castle tower, which was originally intended to watch over the road below.
In the fourteenth century, the Mandagout family was one of the ﬁrst feudal houses in the Cévennes; they also played an important role in the times of the Popes in Avignon, even giving several prelates to the Church. In the seventeenth century, the heiress of the castle sold it to her sister who married an Albignac, the Baron of Arre. It was from that moment that the castle took the name of Château d’Albignac, although it is still known by its original name. Having fallen in love with the castle, the current owners acquired it in 2000. The castle was then in a pitiful state and they undertook major restoration work to unearth the historical elements hidden under centuries of plaster, lime and cement. The Château de Mandagout was restored in keeping with its original spirit with noble materials. Modernised, it has regained its splendour. Ran for a while as a guesthouse, behind its stone walls and red shutters, it includes ﬁve bedrooms, all spacious and tastefully decorated - Louis XV period furniture, 1950s and design objects, beautiful lighting, Persian rugs, works of art and patiently hunted antiques. Each has an ensuite bathroom, is equipped to the standards of a luxury hotel and enjoys views of the wild and unspoiled natural surroundings.
The kitchen opens onto the interior courtyard. The drawing room, with its vast ﬁreplace and the dining room, which have been laid out under the ancient stone vaults, overlook the west side garden and the two huge centuryold cypress trees. The large paved courtyard with its old fountain is a true interior garden, where tables and chairs have been place for guests to dine in the shade of the walls. It separates the original building and its thirteenth century tower from the magnanery, which was built at a later date. The latter has been restored and converted into a large self-contained apartment on two ﬂoors with a living room and a large kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. All beautifully furnished with great care. To the south, is a private garden that dominates the landscape. A studio has been prepared to house a caretaker. And other annexes are still to be renovated. The heated pool is located in the remains of what was the eleventh century chapel, within its remaining walls, hidden from view. Peaceful and preserved, at the heart of the beautiful landscape of the Southern Cévennes, where tranquillity and an easy-going lifestyle reign, the Château de Mandagout is also the ideal place for a family who wants to make it their home.
14 Magazine Émile Garcin