Château des Baux

The Château des Baux is a fortified castle built during the 10th century, located in Les Baux-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, southern France.

History

Although already inhabited in the Bronze Age, Les Baux-de-Provence did not really start growing until the medieval period. Built in the 10th century, the fortress and the small town it protects were ruled by the lords of Baux for five hundred years, in the thick of the ceaseless conflicts that ravaged Provence.

But it was also at Les Baux that the most famous minstrels and troubadours of the day sang songs of courtly love to the maidens of the House of Les Baux.

In the 15th century, the lords of Baux were superseded by the barons of the Masons des Comtes de Provence. This was a golden age for the Château, before it came under the control of the kings of France.

From the 16th century on, family feuds and wars of religion brought on the decline of the town until the fortress was pulled down in 1633 on the orders of Louis XIII.

Le château des Baux today

In the château des Baux you can see three full scale replicas of huge siege warfare machines. You can also discover a demonstration of huge catapults (the biggest trebuchet in Europe, a couillard also called biffa and a bricole) performing real shootings everyday from April to September. The trebuchet, the largest medieval siege warfare machine, could hurl 100 kg rock projectiles at walls 200 yards (180 m) away.