The sensational history of the castles of Bruniquel

Bruniquel
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The sensational histo ...

If you like crisp, atypical and original stories, don't hesitate to visit LES châteaux de Bruniquel! Between Brunehaut, legendary builder, family quarrel, movie stars and fire, you will see that these places are definitely not lacking in spice! Overlooking the Aveyron valley, these castles not only have a very interesting history, but also an unparalleled strategic position thanks to their impregnable location: 90m on the side of the rock and above the Aveyron.


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Queen Brunehaut, legendary character

Brunehaut, Visigoth princess in the 600s, was Merovingian queen of the Franks for 33 years. He is an important character in the history of the castles of Bruniquel. Not only because she will accompany you throughout the audio-guided visit, but especially because she contributed to the construction of the village of Bruniquel. Moreover, the keep, a vestige of a first castle built during the 12th century, bears the name of Tour de la Reine Brunehaut. Originally, this tower was about 16m high.

The good idea Read our article on the most beautiful perched villages in the Tarn! There is something to marvel at, but beware of the torticollis!


The Tower of Queen Brunehaut

The Tour de la Reine Brunehaut and, in the background, the Château Jeune

The Dungeon and the Old Castle

On the left the 12th century Keep, and the Old Castle on the right

Why do the two castles face each other?

It is a rather atypical and rather unconventional story that took place here. In the 15th century, the Château Vieux, built on the ruins of the first castle, belonged to the Count of Toulouse. And it is the Viscounts of Brunique who live there. Except that one of them will disinherit his own son on a will, in favor of a cousin: Maffre de Comminges. The son brought a lawsuit against his father which lasted 15 years and which he ended up losing. The lands to the east of Château Vieux therefore become the property of the cousin. The latter wasted no time in erecting his own castle, between 1485 and 1510, under the nose and beard of his cousin!

This is why we find 2 castles, 2 viscounts and a disagreement which will last for 3 centuries.


Young Castle  Young Castle

The exteriors of the Château Jeune

The entrance to the Château Vieux

The entrance to the Old Castle

Why is the Old castle in better condition than the Young castle?

At the end of the 18th century, the Viscount who owned Château Vieux decided to buy Château Neuf to put an end to the quarrel. But this one will be dropped. Some windows will even be walled up so as not to pay the tax on openings, introduced during the Revolution. Only the Château Vieux will be occupied, without interruption, until the death of the last Viscountess of Bruniquel in 1980. This explains the difference in the state of conservation between the two buildings. It is for this reason that Château Jeune has undergone major renovation and restoration work.


The state room of the Château Jeune

The state room of the Château Jeune, after 8 months of work

The gallery of the Château Jeune  The gallery of the Château Jeune

The gallery, restored, of the Château Jeune


  • A little anecdote: The division between the two families was such that a wall had been erected between the two castles. Following the takeover, the Château Vieux tower can be perceived as the reunification tower, since it was built with the stones of the wall that separated the two castles.

The tower once separating the two castles

The tower made with the stones of the wall that once separated the two castles

The castles of Bruniquel, film set

It is here that the main scenes of the film "The Old Gun", directed by Robert Enrico were filmed. Philippe Noiret and Romy Schneider give the reply. A room is also specially dedicated to this extraordinary event. You can watch a documentary and take advantage of the photo exhibition dedicated to the film and set up on a permanent basis.


Old Castle

A room in the Château Vieux is dedicated to the shooting of the film


Did you know ? In one of the scenes a fire took place. Unfortunately, an uncontrolled flashback nearly burned down the entire castle. Even today, we can see the scars of this accident. Indeed, the room where this took place is very damaged. The French ceilings dating from the 17th century illustrating fruits and flowers have been badly damaged over a whole part of the room.


Room where the tragic accident took place

Room where the tragic accident took place


The good idea Read our article on the most beautiful villages in Tarn-et-Garonne! Continue your visit to these places steeped in history.


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The riches of the two castles of Bruniquel

Of course, the castles of Bruniquel hide a thousand architectural treasures that you will have the chance to discover during your visit (free or audioguided). Thus, you will wander from room to room and will have the chance to enter the incredible ceremonial room (young castle), you will also be able to learn about the particularities of the knights' room, and you will be able to enjoy the view. view of the surroundings from the Renaissance gallery (old castle) or from the belvedere of the Young Castle.

The good idea Read our article on the village of Bruniquel, because there is the castle to visit, but not only!


The knights used to come in here

The knights used to come in here

The panorama from the Renaissance gallery

The panorama from the Renaissance gallery

Viewpoint from the belvedere

A breathtaking view from the belvedere


Hoping that this information on this unique place has given you the desire to go to the castles of Bruniquel, a must-see place in the Tarn-et-Garonne. Moreover, do not miss the village of Bruniquel, which is also worth the detour.


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Article and photos prepared by Charline Prod'Homme for the Guide Tarn Aveyron


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