Gaston Phébus, parties and murder in Orthez
Phebus' nice castle
It was Gaston III Phebus who re-raised the primitive castle, in 1368. A primitive castle founded by count Gaston VII in 1242, on a hill overlooking roads which led to Landes and Pyrenees... The fortress used to be protected by deep moats.
In addition to Moncade tower, we had a main building which was lord’s dwelling house. Gaston Phebus entirely altered the tower in 1368: his architect Sicard de Lordat added 3 floors to it... the building would be 30 metres high!
So, in this tower, we had a cell on the ground floor. On the first floor, a justice room and on the other floors, rooms with chimneys and stairs.
Gaston III Phebus organized nice parties in his brand new palace: it was the place to be, where noblemen and princes of the area met, a place as royal as the king’s court!
Gaston was 60 years old at that time... but he was still handsome and dashing! The famous historian Froissart was invited in Orthez in 1388.
He wrote a poem for Gaston and said that he arrived in the castle at night: he described all the torches and candles held by butlers, in the feast room, full of squires and knights, with a splendid supper on the table...
Gaston loved poultries, especially wings and legs! Froissart also said it was the first time he saw such a royal court like this...
It was in Orthez Phebus murdered his son, one day in 1380. The terrible scene took place on the ground floor. He thought he was plotting against him...
But in 1464, Orthez fell into oblivion. Wars of Religion damaged it in 1569.
And the deathblow suddenly came in the reign of Louis XIV: completely ruined, the castle was demolished in 1740. The city owned ruins in 1845 and restored its only vestige, the Moncade tower...