Chateau des Baux - Sarah Woodbury

Chateau des Baux

Chateau des Baux is a medieval fortress located on the Les Baux plateau in the South of France.

The first mention of the castle is in the 10th century (900s) when it was ruled by a lord called Pons de Jeune, though evidence indicates the plateau has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The legend says that the original ruler was descended from Balthazar, of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. The Wars of Les Baux began in the 12th century when the Lords of Baux resisted their incorporation into the Kingdom of Catalan. By the 14th century, Les Baux came under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of France, which the lords also resisted, to the point of burning and pillaging the surrounding area between 1386 and 1398.

During the 12th century, the castle was largely reconstructed to turn it into a more effective and prestigious fortress. The fortifications were replaced by a keep which made the most of the natural configuration of the rock. The other buildings in the castle were reinforced as well. But then, in the 16th century, much of the castle’s fortifications were pulled down by the King of France, who felt threatened by the very existence of such a strong fortress with a long history of rebellion, so far from Paris.

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