Castle of the Archbishops of Narbonne in Capestang
Castle of the Archbishops of Narbonne in Capestang

Come and discover the summer residence of the archbishops of Narbonne in Capestang. This castle has a painted ceiling dating from the fifteenthe century. You can admire many scenes from the time on the bugets (animals, gallant and religious scenes). The castle was at the end of the Middle Ages, a splendid residence that certain documents do not hesitate to qualify as a palace. The Interpretation Center will provide you with reading keys on the ceiling and the history of the castle.

Between the twelfthrd and the fifteenthrd century, its owner, the very rich and very powerful archbishop of Narbonne, (did he not own 18 castles!), made many improvements. This immense residence which extended over 1500 m2 has unfortunately suffered the ravages of time. Of the four corner towers of the Philippian fortress (end of the XNUMXth century) only the north-west one remains, as well as the curtain to the north and west, partially masked by later developments.

Fortunately, what was the most prestigious part of the house is still there to testify to the past splendor. At 1er floor of a large rectangular tower located south of the machicolations on arches and buttresses, there is a magnificent ceremonial room. Evidence of two successive developments can be seen here.

Discovery of the painted ceilings in the Archbishops' castle in Capestang
Discovery of the painted ceilings in the Archbishops' castle in Capestang

At the beginning of the fourteenth century Bernard de Fargues ordered work to be carried out, including large Gothic bays and a set of murals bearing the French coat of arms alternated with that of the prelate and the chapter of St Just of Narbonne.

It was probably Jean d'Harcourt who ordered the extraordinary painted ceiling in around 1450. Over the 160 m2 of the room, 5 beams are decorated with scrolls, flowers, alternating on one of them with the Harcourt coat of arms. The end sections of all of them feature the jaws of the Leviathan around the crows.

The historiated paintings are exclusively reserved for the "bugets" or roof ridges between the joists. Of the 203 original ones, 148 still remain, in identifiable iconography. The whole assembly is surprising thanks to the remarkable conservation and the extreme diversity of the themes addressed (religious and secular scenes, fantastic and real-life bestiary, lords and common people ...). The artists may be unknown to us, but we are sure that a great master has passed through here!