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Château de Virieu

Just 30 minutes from Le Relais du Çatey, discover the Château de Virieu through the eyes of a warrior. Cutting an impressive figure with its solid walls atop a highly imposing medieval mound, this castle has been standing tall and mighty since 1010. Luckily, you won’t need to launch a barbaric offensive to try to enter this fortress. The doors may have been designed to withstand every kind of attack, but the castle is no match to your curiosity.

There’s a story behind everything you set your eyes upon – there’s the brilliant rational sequencing of the French-style garden beneath the castle walls, the serenity that bathes the internal courtyard, and the gallery with its arcades that resemble the cloister of a nunnery. In the latter, you’ll find some “mountain gun” canons (“canons de montagne”) which Louis XIII brought back after the Siege of Montpellier and peace with the Protestants was made.

Through the ages, the castle has kept its general military structure intact, but it has also seen several architectural refurbishments with an eye to adapt them to the necessities of time and the changing use of the buildings, all during the 15th, 17th and early 19th centuries. It remains the residence of the Virieu family’s descendants even though the castle was “out” of their ownership for seven centuries. Listed as a historic monument, the Château de Virieu is open to the public from 23rd March to 1st November.