Duke de Lauzun, the sassy Don Juan

LauzunLauzun | ©Internet Archive Book Images / Public domain

Portrait of an eccentric

The castle of Lauzun belonged to Antonin Nompar de Caumont La Force, the famous... duke de Lauzun! King of bluff, he was born here in 1633.

Oh, his family was poor, so they sent him in Versailles: the young man, who came here under the name of marquis de Puyguilhem, was a character!

French author Saint-Simon described him as “a small yellowish man, quick witted, very impressive, but full of ambition and whims, jealous of everyone, always unhappy, naturally solitary, quarrelsome...”

Very sassy, he was in Louis XIV’s good books: the king even appointed him governor of Berry, then Great Master of the Artillery. Fine talker, Lauzun was also a seducer! Mrs. De Montespan and Louis XIV’s cousin La Grande Mademoiselle fell in love with him.

This one even made her proposal: king agreed! But Lauzun married the Montespan, in the meantime... Scandal!

They locked him in jail, in Pignerol stronghold. 10 years later, he came back with La Grande Mademoiselle... and they broke up. He married a young 15 years old girl when he was 63 years old... and died at 90!

Duke’s castle

Anyway, the primitive castle was raised in the 10th century, on the foundation of a Roman stronghold. Caumont lords extended it in the 12th century and erected the square keep. In the 15th century, they raised a new main building with mullioned windows, flanked by a nice turret.

Gabriel de Caumont raised the beautiful Renaissance wing in 1585 and fit out gorgeous apartments. Our duke de Lauzun, who seldom came here (he said he was bored here and hated countryside!), raised the nice detached house with a dome roof in 1685.

When the duke died, Caumont’s heirs, Gontaut-Biron family, seldom occupied the place. When the second duke de Lauzun (a damn seducer, too!) was guillotined in 1793, the castle fell to his father... new owners destroyed old medieval vestiges, in the 19th century. And every summer, we can visit the estate!