Today, owned by the Coquebert de Neuville family, the castle is a unique architectural testimony in Europe because of its exceptional spur in the shape of a ship's prow, which earned it the nickname "the ship in the Cévennes".
At the time, Château de Portes watched over the old Regordane road used by the pilgrims of Saint-Gilles and the Crusaders towards the Holy Land.
Raymond-Guillaume de Budos, nephew of Pope Clement V, bought the barony of Portes-Bertrand from Guillaume de Randon, lord of Luc, on 13 February 1321, enlarging the castle and the flank of at least two towers. In 1384, Thibaud de Budos recovers the castle, taken from his father André who had sided with the English at the beginning of the Hundred Years War. The seigniory became increasingly rich and powerful.
At the Revolution, the property is nationalized and sold to six successive owners. In 1841, it ended up in the hands of the de La Vernède family, who had it restored.
Following the intensive exploitation of coal mines under its foundations, the land collapsed causing the ruin of the castle, cracked at its base, evacuated in 1929, and the demolition of the mining village rebuilt 300 m further.
Around 1960, the cavities were filled in under the castle, stabilising it. In 1969, an association was created to save it from permanent ruin and it was classified as a historical monument in 1984.
The association "Renaissance du Château de Portes" is working on the restoration of the building, the voluntary work site being mainly located on the medieval part of the castle. Apart from the work, the association also proposes to these volunteers to discover and enjoy the architectural and natural heritage of the Cévennes...
Accommodation is in the former presbytery, in the heart of the village of Portes, 300 m from the Château.
Visitors can discover the renaissance bastion, consisting of three floors of living quarters and kitchens. Each room has a monumental fireplace, which in winter still works. At the top, a 32-metre-high platform offers a circular view of the surrounding valleys from Mont Lozère to the Alesian Plain, and on clear days over the Mont Ventoux. In the summer, you have the opportunity to discover the work of the volunteers in the courtyard of the castle, from the Anduze gallery. The rooms of the castle regularly host themed exhibitions for schoolchildren and Cévennes artists exhibit their work every summer.
Renaissance of the Castle of Portes
3, rue de la Mairie
Tel: 04 66 54 92 05