Written testimonies and drawings enable us to imagine what the castle of Pompadour looked like between the 16th and the 18th centuries. The important construction work that Geoffroy de Pompadour, his brother Jean and nephew Antoine carried out around the year 1500, made it one of the most sophisticated residences in the entire province. Its style was Gothic flamboyant with signs of influence by the Italian Renaissance. Geoffroy de Pompadour was a distinguished member of the church and of politics. He was the bishop of Angoulême, then Périgueux then Le Puy and councillor to Kings Louis the 11th, Charles the 8th and Louis the 12th. His contact with royal and pontifical courts is what brought him to import such stylistic innovations, which were brand new to the area.
The castle had 4 wings, forming a rectangle around the central courtyard.
The south wing, which was the only part that remained intact after the Revolution, was made of local granite rubblestone. This is the part of the castle where the domestics lived. In the centre of this building, a gatehouse controlled the access to the inner courtyard.
The main buildings located north of the court of honour, were made of limestone blcoks. This type of stone was more refined than the granite used in the south wing, but more expensive as well, since it had to be imported from neighbouring regions. These buildings were completely demolished during the French Revolution.
The north and south wings were connected by a 2 floor gallery, to the west. Several texts describe these missing parts as having been « one of the finest examples of the Gothic sort and of arabesque architecture ».
The quadrilateral formed by the castle had 4 impressive circular flanking towers. The Hautefort tower, the most sophisticated one, probably contained the lordly bedroom.
Finally, a large square medieval tower had been preserved in the courtyard, in the middle of more recent constructions.
A pre-Renaissance castle
The castle of Pompadour was built around 1500. It was a reflection of its owners’ great power and sophisticated taste. Unfortunately, its finest parts were demolished. Discover what the castle used to look like thanks to this video, its old maps and computer generated images.