Lourdes castle, the Bastille of Pyrénées

The castleThe castle | ©Mentnafunangann / CC-BY-SA

A jail for tartuffe and tracassier

The jail of Lourdes became the “Bastille jail of Pyrénées”.

The book Notre-Dame de Lourdes by Henri Lasserre says the committal record in the 18th century talked about the prisoners’ “crimes”: “Lacking in civic spirit. Drunk. Doesn’t care about the French Revolution. Used to lie like a tooth-puller. Hypocrite, shy in his opinions…”

Well… they locked here the naughty boys, not the most dangerous one, but the one the society didn’t want.

With the king’s goodwill, in a second, your entire life could collapse: they locked you in the fusty jail of Lourdes… hey, it’s like Mirabeau’s father who sent his own son in jail because he hated him!

Mazarin in jail in Lourdes

The duke of Mazarin, prince of Valentinois (grand-nephew of the famous cardinal), was locked in the castle because of a scandal he had in the royal Court, in 1767.

We heard about that story in the book A Lady's Walks in the South of France in 1863 by Mary Eyre.

The duke, one day, was waiting for a lady in front of her door… with another gallant! Then they started to fight.

Our prince was wounded, but they sent him in Lourdes as well, for several years, with a broken leg, so he could calm down his heat…

Well, apparently, his conditions of detention weren’t as bad as they seemed: the castle’s governor even asked him to be the godfather of his son! And when he left, the duke gave gifts to everyone…