Dismantled, looted, soiled, abandoned since nearly two centuries, perched on its rocky peak with La Loire at its feet, the Château of Beaufort has recently been patiently restored.
Everything started in 2008.
Out of love for his country, maybe also because his father as a child used to spend his holiday there, or because himself used to play in Goudet, its new owner, an architect, decided to stop time to do its work of destruction.
For some the challenge of the new lord of Beaufort to restore the Château and give it back its splendor without betraying its past and its history has seemed foolish and unrealistic, especially as its owner had decided to live in it as well.
Thanks to the interest of the Monuments Historiques for this project, to the enthusiasm of the municipality and of the attachment of the Goudet inhabitants for their castle, dream has become reality.
Since, every year that passes has seen progression of the restoration. Today Beaufort is saved,
Beaufort is back again and is proud to welcome the public that wishes to visit it.
Once upon a time…
On the VIII century, the landlords of Goudet live on the Pipet rock, on the right bank of the Loire.
On the XIIth century, they build a stone castrum.
On the XIIIth century, thanks to the new war technologies they build the château de Beaufort on the other bank of the Loire, on top of a rocky peak with abrupt slopes that is easy to protect. The Pipet castrum will be destroyed by the English in 1382 and its village will be burnt. Since then Beaufort will become stronger and stronger.
On the XIV th century, the landlords of Goudet are at the peak of their power. They resist many sieges usually led by demobilised groups of soldiers who rack the villages.
In 1387, after many vicissitudes and trials, and because there is no male successor, Lambert de Goudet allows his sister to give Beaufort to her husband, Hugues de la Tour de Saint Vidal.
In 1580 under Antoine de la Tour and with the agreement of Henri III Beaufort turns into a viscouny that includes the baronies of Barges and Goudet. It stands at the same level as the viscounty of Polignac.
Understanding the strategic position of Beaufort, Antoine de la Tour starts to restore the fortifications that can be still seen today with the wall situated on the south west side of the castle.
In 1582, Claude de Rochefort d’Ailly receives from his wife, Claire La Tour de Saint Vidal, all her properties including the Beaufort seigneury .
In 1585, during the religious wars Protestants invaded the castle of Arlempdes situated nearby.
En 1589, King Henri III is murdered. When Henri IV becomes King the political situation is very tensed. The leaguers are strongly and violently opposed to his accession to the throne of France. After the insuccessful siege by the Senechal de Chaste in 1589, Beaufort recognises the legitimacy of Henri IV and agrees to submit. A royal garrison of 25 ‘military on foot’ settle in the castle. There will be then a succession of captains owners.
On the XVII century, the Rochefort d’Ally can’t come to an agreement about the inheritance of Beaufort and decide to sell it in 1652 to Robert Jourdain. The Puy tax collector, Robert Jourdain who wished to be recognize as a noble, starts a very important renovation of the castle which will last more than 10 years. Unfortunately his grandson, Jean Ignace Jourdain who succeded him as a tax collector in the Puy will divert funds away for 4 years obliging Robert Jourdain to give away his charge and to sell Beaufort in order to reimburse the money to the Languedoc States.
In 1666 Claude Ferreboeuf, main lieutenant of the Sénéchaussée of the Puy, acquires the castle to immediately sell it to Louis Armand de Polignac, Viscount of Polignac, who becomes in turn Viscount of Beaufort.
History repeats itself and in 1676 it is the Puy new tax collector, Jean de Pujol, who buys the Beaufort seigneury. The Laval family, owners of the castle of Arlempdes since 1720, acquires Beaufort in 1739.
At the French revolution Beaufort becomes property of the State and is sold by the Republicans to a company in Valence, la Bande Noire (Black Band) with the obligation to dismantle it. But the destruction starts only under the reign of Louis XVIII and is achieved in 1824 under the reign Charles X. From there the ruins will pass from hands to hands. The last remaining wall of the west aisle collapses at the beginning of the XXth century.
In 1977, Mr Garnet launches a call for voluntary work to safeguard Beaufort.
In 1994, the Château de Beaufort is classified on the French supplementary historic monument list.
In 2001, Michel Guyot, renowned ‘saviour’ of castles, buys Beaufort and entrusts an association whose role is to raise the visitors awareness to the construction techniques used in the Middle Age.
But despite the public subsidies and the commitment of the association the project comes to an abrupt end.
It is only in 2008 with the new owner, Jean-Jacques Julien, a Parisian architect and a native-born, that the announced disappearance of Beaufort stopped and that the restoration of Beaufort really started and has been carried on since then.