Nouvelle Aquitaine Section
Chateau de Pompadour – Marquise de Pompadour
Chateau de Pompadour in Limousin
The Chateau de Pompadour is located in the commune of Arnac-Pompadour in Limousin.
Pompadour, a name worldwide known!
However, did you know that Madame de Pompadour, the favourite of King Louis XV, was previously known as Madame Le Normant d’Etiolles?
The Chateau de Pompadour, though, existed long before the Marquise was born.
Indeed, one of the early Viscounts of Pompadour, Guy de Lastours, built a fortress in 1026 to protect his fiefdom from the attacks of the Counts of Ségur.
The medieval fortress burned in 1200, but was restored by the junior branch of the Viscounts of Limoges, who had inherited it in 1240.
The Viscounts of Limoges had already inherited the affluent Viscounty of Comborn and started to bear the name of Pompadour in 1400.
Geoffroy Helie de Pompadour rebuilt and improved the fortress in the 15th century.
The Pompadour successfully defended their lands and castle during the Wars of Religion.
The Chateau de Pompadour was indeed besieged, however, never seized!
The Viscounty of Pompadour was elevated to the rank of Marquisate in 1614.
It remained in the same family until 1726, when the last Pompadour died without direct heir.
The title, land and Chateau de Pompadour became the core of a long feud between the contenders for the legacy.
Marquise de Pompadour
However, Louis XV solved the problem in 1745!
He purchased the Marquisate and the Chateau de Pompadour, which he bequeathed to his favourite.
Madame Le Normant d’Etiolles therefore became Marquise de Pompadour.
In 1760 (4 years before she died), she returned the estate to the king, who sold the title of Marquis to the Duke of Choiseul.
Louis XV elevated the stud farm, founded by the Marquise, to the rank of ‘royal stud farm’.
The establishment enjoyed a solid reputation until 1791 - French Revolution - when it was closed.
The chateau, which had been left unoccupied since the 1760’s, suffered more degradation during that troubled period of French history.
The Renaissance wing and Gothic chapel were demolished.
All that is left of the Chateau de Pompadour are the southern building - quite impressive though - and the fortified gate or Châtelet.
The castle stands on a feudal mound; a polygonal rampart with eight guard towers and deep moats protect it.
The Renaissance porch entrance opens onto a vast esplanade that boasts prime views of the stud racecourses.
The Chateau de Pompadour was classified Historical Monument in 1926.
Haras National de Pompadour
Napoleon I saved the stud farm in 1806.
He indeed elevated it to the rank of 'imperial stud farm'.
The Haras de Pompadour, known for being the place of creation of the Anglo-Arab horse breed, was elevated to the rank of National Stud Farm in 1872.
The Haras National de Pompadour today houses the National Stud Farms' headquarters.
It is also the second largest national stud farm in France after the Haras du Pin in Normandy!
Department of Corrèze - Limousin region
Coordinates: Lat 45.396863 - Long 1.383110
Photos Wikimedia Creative Commons: facade - Chateau - Fortified gate - Chateau - Haras