Built on a rocky spur, this superb fortress built from the XIIth century, was completed at the end of the XIVth by Gaston Febus.
The castle of Mauvezin dominates all the Toulouse-Bayonne road from its crenellated keep.
A bit of history...
The first castle was built on an artificial mound, probably in the 11th century. With a height of 3 meters, the castle was made of wood and consisted of a tower surrounded by palisades.
At the foot of the castle, two courtyards protected by ditches and enclosed by palisades, housed houses, the largest of which, located on the south side, had a width of about 12 meters and was enlarged by Gaston Febus, in the 14th century, to give it its present form. The second is occupied by the cemetery built in 1849.
The castle dominated the village, which was also fortified by palisades up to the site of the present church. Traces of the fortifications can be seen on both sides of the road leading up to the castle.
The castle is mentioned for the first time in a text dated March 12, 1083, in a peace pact between Sanche de Labarthe and Béatrix, Countess of Bigorre. Located on the border between Bigorre, Comminges, Armagnac, Aure and Labarthe, it was used several times as a pledge to guarantee peace, as in 1232 when the countess Petronille de Bigorre gave it to the count of Comminges.
Disputed during the Hundred Years' War, it was the object of a siege, led in 1373 by the Duke of Anjou, brother of King Charles V, and told by the chronicler Froissart. In 1379, it was given to Gaston Febus who added it to his country of Nébouzan.
The surrounding wall, flanked by buttresses, was probably built in the 13th century. It reached the level of the current courtyard. Gaston Febus built the 37-meter high keep and raised the ramparts. Jean de Foix-Grailly converted it into a count's residence and affixed his proud motto "j'ay belle dame" on the heraldic plaque above the entrance door. After his death, it was hardly used anymore, except as a prison during the Wars of Religion.
National property during the Revolution, it became, we don't know how, the property of the commune and was used as a quarry by the inhabitants of Mauvezin. In 1862, Achille Jubinal, deputy of the Hautes-Pyrénées, bought it from the municipality in order to restore it, but did not have the time to start the work. His heirs sold it in 1906 to Albin Bibal, mayor and general councillor of Masseube, who undertook consolidation work in order to open it to the public. On March 28, 1907, he gave it to the Escola Gaston Febus, which still owns it. The association has launched an extensive restoration program.
The castle today
The inner courtyard is a perfect example of medieval military architecture, where replicas of war machines are displayed.
A guide in period costume reveals to visitors the history of the castle.
In the rooms, you will discover the way of life of the time, the museum and the permanent exhibitions, like the one on Gaston Febus, or temporary exhibitions. A store offers gift items and literary, historical and artistic works.
All year round, theme days are organized for school children (visits and educational workshops: heraldry, measurements and coins, archaeology).
In summer, you can participate in numerous events every Sunday and public holidays: jugglers, medieval music and songs, theater....
The castle of Mauvezin is owned by the association Escòla Gaston Febus.
The castle is open every day (including holidays) for groups of more than 10 people, reservation is required at 05 62 39 10 27.
Castle of Mauvezin
10, rue du Château,
Tel : 05 62 39 10 27
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator