Monday, 6 May 2013

CAMELOT..... the subject of this month's post
"By Invitation Only".....
initiated by Marsha from 

located no where in particular, 
can be anywhere"

In my fantasy it is at Château de Puyguilhem in the Périgord,
located nearby were I live.... all time favorite castle
 from the first moment, at my first visit about 30 years ago.

Knight sagas, heroic legends and adventures....
...I've read everything I could get when I was a child,
 loved visiting old castles - and still do.

Living in the Périgord, 
being surrounded by 1001 medieval Châteaux and Castles,
Puyguilhem is still the "ONE"!
  Whenever I visit it - at least every second year -
it sets me back into a dream world.

Chateau de Puyguilhem

"The walls that stand so tall in ages long past,
that hold the dreams we long to remember.
A noble royal king with crowns of gold,
while maidens sweet, that dance to merry tunes...

Detail of a tapestrie - Puyguilhem

...Our battling knights with virtuous ways
are killing dragons flame with mighty blows.
The tournaments and jousts were held for crowds,
to show the colorful of coats of arms.

...The bards sing many songs in rhythmic rhymes,
while jester's fun is when he makes you laugh...

detail of a Flandres bahut (buffet) 1620

...But wizards hold most spectacular shows,
with knowledge of his magical of brews...

detail of tapestry - Puyguilhem

...The enchanted castle of Camelot
holds dreams of things we long to remember.
And even though we can't go back in time,
the walls still hold medieval memories...


detail of 18th century tapestry - Puyguilhem

...The memories not just of king and queen,
but life so romantic, simple and gay.

...The walls of Camelot hold these so true,
cause Camelot life is the fairy tale."

Written by Lady Kathleen  here

Château de Puyguilhem
 Dating back to early Renaissance times (beginning of the 16th century) 
Puyguilhem's splendour can easily be compared to that 
of the most beautiful Châteaux of the Val de Loire region 
built during the reign of French King François I.

and is the best preserved Renaissance style castle in the Périgord.

It is the setting of the castle that makes it so special,


with the forests of the northern Dordogne closing in on the back of the Château

 and open meadow to the front.

Château de Puyguilhem was constructed in the 16th century
and it is  similar in style to those of the Loire Valley.
The style has more in common with the castles of the Loire Valley (far to the north)
than it does with the majority of the Dordogne castles,
most of which avoided the 16th-17th century renovations characteristic of the castles of the Loire.

Mondot de La Marthonie, president of the Guyenne parliament in Bordeaux,
bought the title of Puyguilhem circa 1510.
This noble from the Périgord, legal advisor to Louise of Savoy
(mother of the future King Francois I.)
became the first president of the Paris parliament in 1515.
He gained even greater influence at the court
when Francois I. (1515-1547) left to wage war in Italy.
It was at that time that Mondot began work on his Château,
marking his rise in society.


After his death in 1517, his project was continued
by his brother Gaston, until circa 1535.
The Château remained in his family until the 18th century,
when the Chapt de Rastignacs inherited it.

There were several successive owners in the early 20th century,
but the building virtually fell into ruin.
It was then bought by the State in 1939.


The style is partly Renaissance and partly medieval.
The large round tower on the right has a Medieval air
and is linked to the main part of the Château...

The buildings have aligned windows at irregular intervals along the facade.
The spiral staircase is in an out-built polygonal tower. 


  ...a stunning and superb construction...


Building of the castle was in two phases - hence the two styles.
From 1514 to 1524 building was largely in the medieval style
with distinct Gothic influences.


The second phase from 1525 to 1535 added styles
similar to those of the Loire Valley,


like the elaborately decorated chimney stacks - 
reminiscent of Chambord.


There are more sculpted decorations on these upper parts
and on the grand staircase pavilion. 


  The main section set at right angles is completed with an 18th century wing.

Puyguilhem is characterized by greatly harmonious dimensions, 

as can be seen in the main building offering towers and turrets of varied shapes, 
 and in the facade with all its mullioned windows.


These volumes, which remain in the Medieval tradition,
have low-relief rinceau decorations and letter friezes,

the meaning of which is obscure.
There are other patterns expressing the favour of the sovereigns,
such as the royal lily and the Savoy knot,
associated with the widowhood of Louise of Savoy.





rich sculptured decoration:



machicolations, stairs, dormer windows, coffered ceilings,



Château de Puyguilhem

such as the exceptional, so-called "Labours of Hercules" : 


together with an exceptional collection of antique Aubussons and tapesteries

all here plays a noticeable role in the overall elegance of this Château.







The Château was listed as a historic monument in 1912.
Restoration work was carried out under Yves-Marie Froidevaux,
historic monuments architect, for some 30 years.

Chateau de Puyguilhem
- my 'dream Camelot'-

and my real one...

is at La Pouyette....


Please visit Marsha's blog to link into

our international group
for all their "Camelot" posts



A little foot note:
The castle 'Camelot' is mentioned for the first time in Chrétien de Troyes
poem Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, dating to the 1170s, 
though it does not appear in all the manuscripts. 
It is mentioned in passing, and is not described:
"A un jor d'une Acenssion / Fu venuz de vers Carlion / 
Li rois Artus et tenu ot / Cort molt riche a Camaalot / Si riche com au jor estut."

File:Idylls of the King 3.jpg
Chrétien de Troyes was a late 12th century French poet and trouvére,
known for his work on Arthurian subjects, and for originating the character Lancelot.
This work represents some of the best-regarded of medieval literature.
His use of structure, particular in Yvain, the Knight of the Lion,
has been seen as a step towards the modern novel.
Chrétien may have named himself Christian of Troyes 
in contrast to the Jewish Rashi, also of Troyes.
Little is known of his life, but he seems to have been from Troyes,
or at least intimately connected with it,
and between 1160 and 1172 he served at the court of his patroness
Marie of France, Countess of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
read more and all    here

Eleanor of Aquitaine was the mother of Richard the Lion Heart,
 Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony, died April 6, 1199,  
in Châlus - about 45 Km North-East of Château de Puyguilhem.

And so the "circle closes"...somehow....

  part of Puyguilhem's garden

All photos my own
except 1,2,3,4,5: by Pascal Moulin


  1. I love all of your Camelots! Each more beautiful than the next!

  2. Karin, I knew you would write a beautiful post on "Camelot" and you did not disappoint. It's really lovely, and I'm so happy the state owns it now and won't allow it to fall into dis-repair. But, wouldn't it be lovely if they allowed people to stay there for awhile, you know, just to get the feeling of the place. A beautiful Camelot for sure. Thank you for participating in our monthly gathering and teaching us all things we needed to know.

  3. Dear Karin,
    What a beautiful chateau Puyguilhem is and built in such spectacular surroundings ...... so very 'Camelot'. My favourite adaptation of 'Camelot' was the BBC's Merlin which was filmed partly at Chateau Pierrefonds, situated north east of Paris. Magical, mysterious and beautiful ........ your post is beautiful and perfect as always Karin. XXXX

  4. Ah, you have made Puyguilhem come alive with your read your lovely words with so much passion, it makes it very much in the here and now rather than a dusty old relic ....bravo. It is a very beautiful the stairs especially.

  5. lovely pictures and tapestries! so lovely!

  6. Droling over every single picture, yes this is Camelot, the tapestries and architecture are total magic!

  7. Gorgeous. The details and textures are extraordinary. You want to reach out and touch.

  8. I can understand why it's your favourite castle Karin... such an historical treasure... I too love to visit castles and stately homes... it's that feeling of venturing back into the past that intrigues me...
    Thank you for the visit to this most marvellous castle... xv

  9. Nous en avions parlé, c'est un souvenir d'enfance pour moi qui ai connu ce chateau complètement en ruines.Je l'ai revu il y a deux ans tel que vous nous le présentez, et je retrouve la même émotion eprouvée alors.
    C'est une reconstitution historique absolument idéale pour le thème de ce post vraiment réussi.Nous avons tant de chateaux dans la région ... mais celui-ci méritait bien que l'on s'y arrête.

  10. Cela m'a toujours fascine, meler l'imaginaire,le legendaire avec le reel et en faire ses propres histoires.C'est intriguant et toute evasion de ce genre attire l'interet d'une maniere imprevue.Les chateaux de la Loire je les ai visites il y a quelques annees et j'avoue qu'a partir d'un moment je les vois tous pareils.( je demande pardon aux experts!)Mais depayser le roi Arthur, le faire installer a Puyguilhem et tresser le conte avec le parcours historique du chateau, ca Karin je pense que seulement toi,tu pouvais le faire.Je ne sais si tu l'as compris apres ce long bavardage mais ton post m'a enormement plu.
    P.S.Je m'excuse pour l'absence d'accents,ca depend de quel appareil j'utilise chaque fois!

  11. An enchanted castle! Why not Camelot?
    It is beautiful and iconic. You know so much about all of these intricacies! interesting that it is essentially a Loire castle far removed from the Loire.
    We have been to Troyes, another amazing place. I knew about Rashi, and I knew about Chrétien de Troyes, but never put 1 + 1 + 1 together.
    Another wonderful post, Karin ---

  12. Karin, I am late in making the visits to our BIO group but I KNEW that this subject was perfect for you!!! And of course, you didn't let us down, you never do...SO beautiful...
    Sending Bisous to you in the Perigord from Arles,

  13. Oh Karin...I would love to visit your version of Camelot! What a beautiful post!

  14. Thankyou Karin ...I feel like I have had a little holiday now after looking at your photos !! Love the Hercules sculpture in particular. how wonderful to be surrounded by so many fabulous buildings .... have a nice weekend...Gail x