Discover the Castle and the Medieval City of Sévérac
The Castle of Sévérac
The site of Sévérac has been inhabited from prehistoric times. Its elevation at 817m above the upper valley of the Aveyron gives it remarkable potential for self-defense, and its location at the intersection of diverse regions favours trade and commerce. Across the ages, this has enabled its double purpose as a fortified place and as a trading centre.
A stronghold was probably built by the first barons on the Sévérac promontory as early as the 10th and 11th centuries, then in the 14th and 15th. Important remains are still visible today, occupying the west, north and east sides of the site: ramparts, curtain walls, watch-towers, a gun-tower and St Jean Baptiste Church.
During the 17th, a new castle came under construction: Jean V d’Arpajon initiated the transformation of the old fort into a pleasant residence in a preclassic Renaissance style. The south part of the promontory became crowned by the whole ensemble, including a large main building, the main courtyard, a monumental double horseshoe-shaped flight and a square tower (now destroyed).
In the 18th, the castle was only inhabited intermittently. With two damaging fires it deteriorated gradually, ending up in almost total ruin by the beginning of the 20th century.
After the 1930’s, the castle became a Heritage site (listed monument). This facilitated its preservation and opened the way to its restoration.
Nowadays, you can profit of free visit all the year or guided visit during the summer. Information at the tourist office.
The Medieval city
At the foot of the castle, the Medieval City extends round the south-east slope of the promontory. It used to be protected by a rampart and by an outer defensive ditch: some vestiges can be seen. Access was possible through four fortified gates. Only two are still standing: the Latazou and the Peyrou fortified gates. As you stroll through the old village, along narrow streets and over stone steps, you will discover fine dwellings with turret-staircases, half-timbered and corbelled houses, mullioned windows, small workshops, all testimonies from a rich past.
You will notice in particular:
the Consul’s House (16th century): its painted ceiling, the courtyard overlooked by a fine glass-panelled gallery , and the jail. Open in summer.
The Sestayral: a covered market where you can see old stone measures.
Saint-Sauveur Church: rebuilt after 1620 over the few remaining traces of the construction from the 12th and 13th century.
The Roman Fountain: collecting undergroung and run-off waters. It dates back to Antiquity but was restructured around 1420.
The House of Jeanne: dating back to the 14th century: it is one of the oldest houses in Aveyron.
More information at the tourist office (free leaflet, map…).