Little histories about Mauvezin castle

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The castle - ©Florent Pécassou / CC-BY-SA The castle - ©Florent Pécassou / CC-BY-SA
Mauvezin castle Castle

Mauvezin, mauvais voisin

The huge fortress of Mauvezin was raised by megalomaniac mind! Yes, Gaston III of Foix-Béarn, soberly nicknamed... Phoebus! This mighty lord who owned the castle in 1379, was young, brave and strong. They nicknamed him Phoebus because he was handsome and blond!

He raised several fortresses in Pyrenees: Montaner, Pau... And Mauvezin, which means mauvais voisin, “bad neighbour”. Eleanor of Comminges and Gaston II of Foix-Béarn’s son re-raised and fortified the fortress which belonged to his ancestor, Centule.

In 1379, the huge square keep (37 metres high) was raised. An impregnable fortress, which was besieged during Hundred Years War (3 times!), before Philip the Fair owned the fortress in 1292.

The Antichrist in the tank

In the courtyard was find a big water tank that used to collect the rain water (very handy in case of long sieges). Then they transformed it into a jail, in which they locked Protestants in the 16th century… Yes! On one of the tanks’ wall, we can read this inscription: Dieu seul sera adoré, et l’Antéchrist de Rome abîmé, which means “We worship the only God, and the Antichrist (the pope) from Rome will be beaten up”…

Jean de Grailly’s blazon

On one of the rampart’s wall, we can see a blazon, representing a frieze of cabbages and wolves’ heads. An inscription says: J’ai belle dame, “I’ve got a pretty lady”. Well, maybe a link to the blond Phebus, a damned heart-breaker?

No: this is Jean de Grailly’s motto, count of Foix and Béarn, who lived in Mauvezin in the 15th c. He was a handsome young man who caused a stir in the king of France’s court, Gaston Phebus’ nephew: ah, of course!

Lady with the belt

In the castle there’s a small museum dedicated to local history: don’t miss it! Especially if you want to know more about the Lady with the chastity belt’s bedroom… Leonna was her name, the ferocious lord of Castelbon's wife. One day, he went to war, so he decided to put a chastity belt to his wife.

So he called a blacksmith from a neighbouring village to make the belt. But when this blacksmith saw the pretty lady, weeping, he jumped on the lord and gave him a deadly blow on his face! So, then, he could sleep around with the lady…

But after that, Leonna arrested him and he was hung to the keep… because the lady, set free of a belt and a violent husband, didn’t want to have another man in her house… The local tradition says that this hanging corpse, a sinister sight, gave its name to the castle, mauvais voisin, “bad neighbour”…

And also!