château du sailhant
Château du Sailhant
A six kilomètres au nord ouest de Saint-Flour se dresse bâti sur un promontoire basaltique et taillé à pic: le Château de Saillans; l’étroite bande de terrain contrefort extrême du vaste plateau de la Planèze le rend seul accessible du côté nord. Non loin du château se trouve la cascade du même nom.
Château du Sailhant is a thousand year old château-fort, located in the mountainous Auvergne region of central France. At an altitude of over three thousand feet, it stands on a dramatic triangular volcanic spur with one hundred foot perpendicular cliffs on three sides overlooking a mystical sixty foot waterfall that drops into a perfectly round prehistoric volcanic crater lake. Accessible only on one moated side, the site has probably been occupied from the most remote of times. The walls of the château and its seven towers are constructed of ancient black hardened volcanic lava stones and the roofs are stone slabs.
During its long history, the château evolved under the ownership of the prominent Rochefort d’Aurouze, Dauphin, d’Amboise, Dubourg and d’Estaing families. In the early medieval period it was a contested stronghold. During the Hundred Years’ War, it was in a continuous tug-of-war between the French and the English resulting in numerous sieges and increased fortifications. During the Renaissance, the château was enhanced with classical details while made even more defensible. Used as a farmhouse towards the end of the 17th century, it became a distinguished residence for a Bishop in the early 18th century and, after the Revolution, was again used as a farmhouse. In the late 19th century a major renovation was commenced, but not completed, by an entrepreneur born in the tiny village at the base of the château. In the 20th century, it was used as a summer residence by a Parisian doctor whose family originated from a nearby town.
A complete history of Château du Sailhant has been compiled by its present owner, Joseph Pell Lombardi, a Preservation Architect. The history will be published simultaneously in French and English. A ten-year conservation effort was recently completed.