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The Ruins of Château de Lacoste, One-Time Home to the Marquis de Sade

Viktoriia Makeenko
"The ruins of the castle of Marquis de Sade in the warm light of an late september afternoon. Located in the little village Lacoste, (Vaucluse, Provence). In the background the Luberon."

Château de Lacoste is a ruined French castle that stands at the edge of the Little Luberon ridge in the commune of Lacoste, France. This site was chosen because it offered the owners of the castle a superb view of the Calavon valley, the Monts de Vaucluse, Mont Ventoux, and the Alps.

Château de Lacoste has undergone frequent changes and renovations during its lifetimes, so what remains visible today is not representative of its original design. It was built in the 11th century, and for many years it was the property of the Simiane family, passing down through the family by means of inheritance.

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

At one point, the castle was transferred to the Sade family. There are two different hypotheses that might explain why this happened. The first suggests that, in 1627, Diane Simiane married Jean-Baptiste de Sade. The second, more likely, theory suggests that Isabelle Simiane bequeathed the castle to her cousin Gaspard François de Sade.

It is known that the Marquis de Sade visited the castle often between 1769 and 1772, before he was incarcerated in Château de Vincennes. During his residency, he wrote plays and held wild parties.

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

The Marquis owned other property in the area, but it is known that he had a real fondness for Château de Lacoste. He often retreated there in the face of scandal, and the castle even appeared in some of his works. In 1772, he constructed a theater in the grounds with a capacity for 120 spectators so that he could produce the plays he had written.

In July 1778, the Marquis escaped from Vincennes and took refuge in Château de Lacoste before he was recaptured in September and returned to the prison. That was the last time that he would stay in the castle.

Having been left unattended, Château de Lacoste was vandalized during the French Revolution. Not only was the inside looted, but the building was also largely destroyed to supply building materials.

In 1796, the castle was gifted to the politician Rovère. Unfortunately, following the Coup of 18 Fructidor, Rovère was deported to French Guiana. The castle was once again abandoned and would not see a new owner for another 150 years.

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

In 1952, college teacher André Buer bought the castle and decided to restore it as much as he could. In 1992, the castle was declared a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture, with protection extending to the courtyards and dry moats.

Château de Lacoste was bought by the designer Pierre Cardin in 2001. He carried out renovations and regularly organized music and art festivals in the castle courtyard and nearby quarries.

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

Currently, the castle still hosts cultural festivals, concerts, theater performances, and various art walks. However, it is privately owned and can only be visited from July to August. Inside the castle, visitors can see furniture from Pierre Cardin’s collection and contemporary works of art. Outside, there are stunning views of the Calavon valley.

Thank you to Jérémy Rosman who allowed us to share his collection of photos of the ruined castle. Check out his Flickr account to find more of his works.

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

 

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By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-

By Jérémy Rosman, Flickr @j-e-y-