The Château de Cadillac

This magnificent château, 35 km from Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne has a rather unusual history, with periods of both grandeur and decline. Visit this historic location all-year-round, and walk in the footsteps of many of the greatest figures of the seventeenth century: Louis XIII, Richelieu, Anne of Austria, Molière, Mazarin, Louis XIV... And yet also tread the corridors of what served as a fearful women’s prison between 1820 and 1950. Discover the curious story of this Château de Cadillac, that has now been transformed by 20 years of restoration work.

From Gascon captain to the musketeers...

Château de Cadillac was built in the early 17th century in the heart of a medieval fortified town, at the wish of a young Gascon captain, who at the age of thirty was raised to the rank of Duke and Lord of France. Fighting against both the Catholic League and the fierce Protestant factions, the first Duke of Epernon survived the French Wars of Religion and the subsequent assassination of Henri III and Henri IV. A precursor of the musketeers and a Gascon caricature, described as a “Demi-King” and an “archimignon” (one of the king’s favourites), this great statesman was one of the last of the great feudal lords. His military success, strategic abilities and fearless character were matched only by his ruthless ambition, longevity and boundless pride. 

Château de Cadillac ange  

...the Demi-King’s palace

One of the largest and most sumptuous châteaux of the period, its construction began in 1600 in Cadillac, beside the Garonne river.

But in 1642, the unsinkable old Duke, supplanted by Richelieu, finally died at the age of 88, under house arrest in Loches. Characteristically, the ambitious palace exaggerated his wealth and power, and was intended to represent the start of a line. However, on the death without issue of the second Duke of Epernon in 1661, the sumptuous ducal castle had already had its day. 

Château de Cadillac salle du Roi  

The Château de Cadillac

The lavish, imposing structure was partially dismantled a hundred years after its completion, in the mid-18th century, plundered to the French Revolution, and then converted into a prison for women in 1818. Over its 130 years of use as a prison, the buildings gradually deteriorated. But now, after several decades of restoration work, its interiors are richly decorated, and house one of the finest collections of tapestries in France. This national monument with its tumultuous, troubled past, makes a great excursion in the Bordeaux area, offering superb architecture, and a beautiful vineyard landscape.

The château can be visited all year long

The château is open every day all year-round (except Mondays from Oct. to June).

Low-season opening times: 10am - 12:30pm, and 2pm - 5:30pm

High-season opening times: 10am - 1:15pm, and 2pm - 6pm

Last access 40 minutes before closing.

After your visit, you can go to the winery of Cadillac where a tour within the world of wine expects you. Then, you can continue your exploration of the region by going to the Abbey de la Sauve Majeure. Built between the XI and XII centuries, the abbey is particularly well known for its columns, sculptures and relics.

Château de Cadillac antichambre