Arlempdes’ name comes from a Gaulish word, Are Nemeton, meaning “sacred temple”, because a Roman camp used to exist near the castle: the camp of Antoune. This camp was haunted by a ghost, a white lady… maybe a noble lady from the fortress, who knows?
This ruined castle is located on a rock overlooking the river Loire. We can see here a huge surrounding wall flanked by cylindrical towers. Seigniorial dwellings and the farmyard were divided by a wall. In the past, there also was a little Saint-Jacques chapel. The former fortress was mentioned in the 12th century. In 1248, it fell to the de Montlaur family.
In 1429, Anne de Montlaur inherited the fief and gave it to her new husband Charles de Poitiers. Their granddaughter was the famous Diane de Poitiers! She took Arlempdes lady's title... The castle fell to Poitiers' descendants, families of Brézé, of La Marck and la Tour d'Auvergne (hey, we met them in the castle of Sedan).
In 1585, Antoine de La Garde, lord of Bouchet, besieged our fortress. Born in a local family who changed religion for Protestantism, Antoine bravely defended the place against the Catholics and kept the terror: murders, robberies, tortures… After 5 years of that, inhabitants of Arlempdes had enough: they killed him! And gave the place to the Catholics.
Yes, but then the castle was abandoned... and it sank into oblivion. Arlempdes went to ruins, ruins bought in 1936 by the Prado, from Lyon. In 1963, some descendants of Arlempdes' lords, restored the castle bit by bit.
Did you know that the marquis d’Arlempdes was the first man to fly in a montgolfier balloon, with his friend the scientist Pilatre de Rozier, on November 21th 1783? The scene took place in the castle of La Muette, to the west of Paris: the flight lasted 20 minutes and took them to the Buttes-aux-Cailles (current 13th arrondissement, south-east of Paris).
The marquis was François-Laurent d’Arlandes, born in 1734. He died in the complete misery, in 1809… completely ruined and heavily in debt, because of his experiences and his love for science!