The first mention of l’Herm dates back to 1384. Later, the land was owned by the Calvimont. Calvimont? Oh, a commoner family who became rich merchants, settled in the Périgord but also near Bordeaux.
We had Jean de Calvimont and his wife Catherine de Prouillac, who died in 1490. His son Jean II, ambassador for emperor Charles the Fifth in 1526, married Catherine Dupuy. This chap raised the current castle in 1480.
His son, Jean III, completed it in 1512. He had a son of a second marriage with Marguerite de Farges: Jean IV. Jean IV, who violently died: the gory curse began with him! The famous curse of l’Herm...
And in 1682, a lady named Marie de Hautefort owned the castle: hey, we know her! She was king of France Louis XIII’s mistress, his platonic love, nicknamed ″the Dawn″ because of her beauty and her sweetness.
Anyway, no one wanted the castle, after the curse’s story, and it was abandoned. It was listed to the Inventaire supplémentaire des monuments historiques in 1927, and new owners finally bought it and opened it to the public.
L'Herm stands in middle of the forest of la Barade. A romantic castle in ruins, which jagged silhouette emerged from the trees… We can visit l’Herm. So, follow me!
The castle is a rectangular dwelling house with 3 floors, two round towers with machicolation and a hexagonal staircase. A draw-bridge and moats full of water used to defend the castle.
We have a real medieval fortress, yes, but with Renaissance details: the nice staircase with its lovely portal, the sculpted chimneys… We can see the Calvimont’s blazon (two angels, two lions and two towers) on one of them.
Do you know Jacquou le croquant? A novel wrote in 1899 by the French author Eugène Le Roy… Is there a link with our castle? Yes! Le Roy was born in Hautefort (Périgord) in 1836 and he knew l’Herm. He drew his inspiration from the castle for his novel!
The story takes place in 1815. In the castle lived the count de Nansac, a cruel man who caused pain to local people, poor peasants… including Jacquou. His dad died to the galleys, unfairly accused of murder by this lord…
Jacquou took revenge with his band of ″croquants″ (common people from Southern France who rebelled against the nobility in the 18th c.), and finally burnt the castle… The count was ruined and Jacquou could live happily with his family.