The town of Airvault, situated in the valley of the river Thouet, is laid out around two historic buildings, the former abbey and the church of St Pierre, and is dominated by the citadel built on a small hill. This strategic position played an important role in the town’s powerful defence system in the Middle Ages.
The château of Airvault is considered by the historian Henri Bodin as “one of the few remaining examples of 11th century military architecture”. From this era there remain the surrounding wall, with its two truncated towers, and the well-preserved keep whose silhouette marks the urban landscape.
According to Henri Bodin, the château was built on the site of the former oppidum of the Gauls, the square towers of which, and the way they were placed on the ramparts, inspired the builders of the château. It is this particular facet of its construction that allows the château to be dated to at least the 11th century. (Some historians think that it could date from before the building of the church).
Surviving buildings include the prison, with its two vaulted cells lit by a loophole.
The château was besieged and conquered in 1207 by Philippe Auguste.
On the 22nd September 1565, Jean Ysoré, the lord of Airvault, had the honour of receiving Charles IX and the young prince of Navarre (the future King Henri IV) at the château.
On the 3rd October 1569, after the Battle of Moncontour in which the Duke of Anjou (the future King Henri III) was victorious, Coligny, the commander of the beaten Calvinists, ordered that the château be razed in revenge against René Ysoré (the son of Jean Ysoré), who had played a part in his defeat.
As the new owners of the château, we are now pleased to open it to the public by offering three very comfortable rooms and a family suite for bed and breakfast.