Summer 2010 : A new show during Mezerville Party !
The Mzerville Castle Cultural Association is happy to introduce :
L'opérette est dans le pré!
Sunday, August 22 at 18:00 in the courtyard of Castle :
Join us to ensure its success !

Visit

Registered in the Historical Monuments Supplementary Inventory, the Mézerville castle built on the top of a 330 m high hill, dates back to the 15th century. It is composed of two wings facing north-south and east-west. To the north are two rounded towers, to the south a square tower can be found. To the south and the east a wall surrounds the whole castle and supports the grounds of the interior courtyard.

 

 

Visiting the castle


 

To the west, a porch with a gate, with loopholes on each side leads into the courtyard.

Interior courtyard in the snow.

The castle is protected by two angle bow windows (to the north-east and the south-east), one watch-turret to the south-east, of which only the base remains, and a bow window above the main door in the interior courtyard. Many holes have been made in the walls (loopholes) of the two towers of the north frontal. These defensive details prove that the castle was built during a troubled period.

Canon holes

If we enter the castle by the ancient main door topped by a bow window, we have on the left hand side the old kitchen with a big, 17th century fireplace made with local “bossage” stones. The exposed beamed ceiling and rafters are from the same period as well as the post and pane walls which demarcate the back kitchen restored today as a bedroom.

The old kitchen

From the old kitchen we can reach the north-east angle tower. There, three loopholes protect the west and north walls.

On the right hand side of the castle entrance we enter the large room made lighter to the north by a mullion window and to the south by three little apertures. This is a 9 meter long room with a big and simple fireplace, undecorated, with a bread oven inside. The beams and large joist ceiling have been restored to their original form.

On the north wall, we can see a succession of corbels (projecting supports), interrupted by the mullion window, that were probably made to support the beams before the current construction.
Regarding the north wall and the fireplace with the bread oven we can assume they date back to the 14th or even more precisely the 13th century.

Ground floor Large room

At the far end, a moulded stone door opens onto a spiral stairway from the 15th century located in the north-east tower. It leads to a “dungeon” in the basement and to the first floor into the large drawing room.

The spiral stairway

Facing the castle’s main entrance a big wooden stairway leads to the first floor.

On the right hand side, above the old kitchen, a large bedroom has been restored with a plastered ceiling and walls in a 19th century style. A marble fireplace from the 18th century decorates the partition wall.

Marble fireplace

On the same floor, in the room of the north-east tower, there are three loopholes and at an angle, “latrines” from the 15th century. The drain from the latrines comes out under an arch in the north front.

Latrines interior entrance

View of the archway on the north front

 

On the left hand side, on the first floor, we enter the large drawing room whose light comes from three mullion windows, two to the south from which we can see the Pyrenees, one to the north from which we can see the Black Mountain. In this large 65 m2 room stands a big fireplace, which has no embellishment and was covered with 18th century Roman inspired plasterwork. This decoration, in bad condition, has been dismantled and preserved so that the fireplace appears in its original state. In the north wall a very ancient opening has been discovered, walled up by the spiral stairway tower. This opening can be dated back to the 13th century as well as the fireplace because of its distinctive form with two supports of rounded lintels commonly to be found in the Old Town of Carcassonne.

The large drawing room

After the large drawing room, into which the stairway leads, a large room occupies the east wing of the building. A big fireplace from the 16th century with diamond patterned stone decoration stands in the room as well as a mullion window to the south facing a narrower window to the north.

The diamond patterned fireplace

 

Diamond details

 

In this succinct description we wanted to show the architectural elements prior to the 15th century to prove that the castle is even older. Credit for the layout of the castle can be given to the Francs of the 6th century!

 

The oldest part of the castle, built by Jehan d’Aulon at the beginning of the 15th century, shows that defence was the first preoccupation by the end of the Hundred Years War, in particular in the north front and the towers with their loopholes, arrow slots and cannon bays.

Both the mullion windows looking onto the courtyard in the south front and the east wing with the diamond patterned fireplace show a preoccupation with comfort and luxury, typical of the “Golden Century” They are also a symbol of the regional wealth, generated by the cultivation of woad. (1450-1550).

As early as 1562, peace ended with the Wars of Religion and prosperity from Woad started to decline. It was only at the end of the 17th century with the Canal du Midi that the region became wealthier thanks to the exportation of wheat. It was probably during this second period of prosperity that the stairway was built and the old kitchen was converted.

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