Classified as Historic Sites and Monuments, the Moulins des Tours were built between the 12th and 14th centuries. This monument inseparable from Albret and its Romanesque bridge immerse tourists in the medieval world, once owned by Henry of Navarre, future Henry IV.
He signed some of his letters : " Henri, le meunier des tours de Barbaste " !
This exceptional site is located on the route of the most popular king of France.
A little history...
In 1308-1309, Amanieu VII d'Albret, lord of Nérac since 1306, bought from two local lords a primitive, unfortified mill on the banks of the river Gélise, on the site of the Moulin des Tours.
Then he built a compact and monumental fortified house to defend the bridge crossing, which was both a place to collect the octroi and a gateway to his lands, but also the mill which housed a granary and the octroi revenues.
Thus was born one of the largest fortified mills in France, which remained in the powerful Albret family for over 300 years.
The mill was home to the Vert Galant during his stays in Nerac.
After a long and somewhat eventful history, the bridge and the Mill of the Towers of Barbaste were classified as Historic Monuments in 1889.
During the night of October 31 to November 1, 1937, the Moulin des Tours was ravaged by a terrible fire triggered by a short circuit in the electrical system of a freight elevator.
In 1986, the Association "Les Amis du Moulin des Tours" was created with the aim of encouraging its preservation and its tourist promotion with the opening of a reception area and the organization of festivities.
In 1988, the mill, which was still very dilapidated, was bought by the Syndicat Intercommunal à Vocation Unique, which includes the communes of Nérac, Lavardac and Barbaste. Restoration work was undertaken on the exterior facings in the 1990s.
In 2007, the Communauté de Communes du Val d'Albret, now Albret Communauté, took over the operation of the site and is now the last owner. New campaigns of work are carried out in 2009-2010 for the rehabilitation of the building by the restoration of the interior.
In 2020, for the first time, the Moulin des Tours is open to the public!
Legends and guided tours...
The history of the Moulin des Tours de Barbaste is punctuated by numerous legends, anecdotes and little secrets that will be revealed to you by the guides present on the site.
Among these unusual stories, let's quote the legend that the size of the four towers of the Mill comes from the memory of the four daughters of the miller? Or did Henry IV save his life thanks to his nickname of "Lou moulié de las tous dé Barbasto" (The miller of the Barbaste Towers)?
And did the Spaniard de Loro manage to escape after his assassination attempt on Henry IV?
And also, what pleasure did Queen Margot come to take at the Moulin des Tours?
The history of this unique mill fortress in the South-West is told to you through an exhibition on 800 years of history. Go to the Tourist Office of the Moulin des Tours to start the visit!
Tourist Office of Albret
7, Av. Mondenard
Phone : 05 53 65 09 37
Phone : 05 53 65 27 75
Le Moulin des Tours de Barbaste
4, rue du Moulin des Tours,
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator