Chateau de Pondres

Chateau de Pondres

A beautiful place, full of history.

Dating back to immemorial times, the Château de Pondres has existed since 1195 (we know this thanks to the will left by the Lord of Anduze). It’s composition and interior design evolved over the centuries. An important work campaign, conducted in the mid-17th century by Pierre II de Crouzet, Advisor to the King and President of the Chamber of Accounts of Montpellier, gave the castle its current form. Pillaged in the Revolution, the northern wing was burned down at the beginning of the 20th century, and it gradually fell into disuse. It’s complete restoration, carried out under the aegis of Historical Monuments, has recently been completed. Today it has regained it majestic presence, serving now as a place of welcome, art and culture


Historical Overview

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The fire of 1792

Pondres appears on the list of “Châteaux incendiès”, during the month of April 1792. This “memory, to supplement the papers which were burned in the archives”, anonymous, was written during the winter of 1803. It collects the memoirs of Gabriel Joseph Villardi of Quinson, Marquis of Montlaur, Lord of Pondres during the Revolution. The facts would have been as follows:

«Mr Gabriel Raimond Villardi …

The revolution which began in 1789 never managed to alter his lifestyle and even less to incite him to get involved in public affairs. He spent the first three years surrounded by calm never ceasing to delight with the agricultural progress within castle domain. When he heard the first Sunday evening of April 1792 that the castles of the Grand Galargues, Aubais, Aujargues were devastated by a band of robbers, he felt the deepest grief for the crime committed, he could not fear for himself reassured by the testimony of his conscience … alone in his castle for many years he resisted the requests of his family who begged earnestly for him to leave, it was only when he himself saw this horde of incendiaries fall upon his castle, that he hurriedly retreated across the fields, crossed the Vidourle at Salinelle, where he rested for some time, forced to leave for his own safety and that of his second son Isidor with whom he went to Busignargues and thence to Montpellier where he arrived about nine o’clock in the evening.

It was on Monday the 2nd of April, 1792, about nine o’clock in the morning, that the devastation of the Château de Pondres began. For several days and even several weeks it was preyed upon by robbers. The corn and wine were given in quantity to these brigades, by those who said they had come in the name of the law to stop the fire. In vain a few workmen, among others Antoine Armajon, a carpenter of Aujargues, attempted to enter a few days after they were sent away by the guards. The valuables of the Marquis had been deposited in different hiding places, one in the boudoir of Madame la Marquise de Montlaur, (this boudoir was superb, there were forty-five large and small mirrors, the door had been hidden in a wardrobe, where all the linen and her dresses were hung) which contained valuables valued up to 100, 000 francs as mentioned by the Mme la Marquse aud. Antoine Roumajon after the fire. The other hideaway was an obscure cabinet, the door of which was made of iron, which could never be opened, which was entered by a breach made in the left side of the door. A porcelain oillion, furnished with silver, was saved. In the cabinet to the north of the apartment of the Comte de Quinson, father of the Marquis, the most valuable furniture had been placed and the door was closed with bricks. The bricks fell and all was lost….


Not only was the castle devastated by the fire, but the robbers carried their fury into the courtyard of the castle. They killed a beautiful dog, called Clinton, who was attached at the time. They also killed two superb swans that were in the basin, trying to catch fish, or perhaps they were trying to find the treasure they thought that had been thrown into the water. In the middle of this great basin stood a man of lead, who was also taken by the robbers. The descruction of the Château de Pondres was followed by the burning of the archives. The door was made of iron, which was forced, and finally opened with great difficulty: it was on Tuesday, the third of April, that the archives were set on fire. All the papers were taken to the front court of the castle, where they were burned. Of all the papers contained in the archives, there remains only one act of the donation of Pondres written in parchment, which can be deciphered with difficulty and of which here is the extract … ”

The archives of Pondres contained a multitude of papers, which gave details as interesting as they were honorable to the family of the Mr the Mndiearquis de Montlaur. Several of his ancestors had received gifts of kindness and esteem on behalf of the Sovereigns of France and Italy. In the winter of 1803 I asked the Marquis de Montlaur for all that his memory could serve him about the papers he had formerly read in his archives.