When Bertrand de Goth became the first Avignon pope in 1305, he bestowed wealth on his family and home region. Born in the village of Villandraut near Bordeaux, not surprisingly he decided to built a fortress called Chateau de Villandraut. It is a fine example of a lowlands castle and medieval papal residence.
Construction on Villandraut was completed within seven years - quite fast for this era, and a good portion of the original castle remains intact. It has a rectangular shape flanked by six massive towers, combining defensive architecture with the spacious, well-lit apartments one would have expected in the stately home of a powerful man. Of course, these were dangerous times. A drawbridge and multiple arrow slits added to the pope’s protection.
Unfortunately, Clement V died in 1314, two years after its completion, and the castle soon left his family’s ownership. The castle has weathered wars and successive owners, but is protected today as a national monument. Since 2007, the Bordeaux real estate developer and passionate amateur historian Norbert Fradin owns the castle.
The ground flour can be visited on a self guided tour. The upper floors can be visited on a guided tour that lasts about one hour, and you’ll get to climb to the top of one of the towers for a magnificent view of the countryside.
Information can be found on their website.