Château de Codignat
description analytical profile

Having lost its original configuration as a feudal fortress, nowadays the Chateau de Codignat can be described as an evocative return to the idea of the castle inspired by early 20th century tastes when views of the Medieval period were idealized and considered romantic, and when a disciplinary statute based on the historic research for the restoration of buildings had still not been introduced.

 

The building is a compact square block with a sloping roof and towers. The façades are in stone masonry, arkose and bricks, with well squared off quoins and finishing stones supported by large sculpted corbels. The battlements of the square turrets and the cone shaped roofs of the round towers contribute to the castle’s reminiscent air of rusticity and fairytale.

 

The castle’s history stretches back to the XII century, when the building was a watch tower for the castle of Ravel. At 450 meters above sea level, it dominated the town, providing defense from the valley of Dore and the control of one of the region’s most important arkose pits, a sedimentary rock that was used for centuries to build castles, churches and sarcophaguses. At the beginning of the XIV century the castle reached its apogee, still under the sovereign of Ravel, it was extended to four times the size it is today.

 

A noble family, whose name changed over time from De Codonhac, to Codignat settled there. The castle was maintained in good condition up until the second half of the eighteenth century, when it belonged to the Intendant of Auvergne, Charles Antoine Claude de Chazerat. It was later abandoned, plundered and its stones used to adorn a number of local houses.

 

At the beginning of the XX century, before it was given its “Viollet-le-Duc” style renovation, there was nothing but a ruin of the present structure with the roofs having entirely collapsed. It was purchased between the two wars by Prince Obolenski a member of the last czar’s family, who found in it a temporary refuge. In 1971 it was transformed to become one of the most refined chateau-hotels in Auvergne.

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