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The Castle of Lacapelle-Marival

The Castle of Lacapelle-Marival

Le Château de Lacapelle Marival : 8 centuries of history

At the beginning of the 13 century a large square defence tower was built for the lord of the region, the “Baron of Cardaillac". Opposite it was a twelfth century Roman chapel surrounded by a few lodgings.

Known as “la chapelle de la Marie del Val” (the chapel of Mary of the Valley) it was mentioned in an eighth century fable and was dedicated to a shepherdess martyrised by the Saracens. Remnants of the chapel were unearthed in 1957 alongside some Merovingian sarcophagi.


This tower’s situation, in a valley, was apparently so as to insure the protection of an important crossing between the gallo- roman road linking Lyon and Bordeaux, a local road between Figeac and Saint-Cere, two important trading towns and the pilgrim’s way to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle and Rocamadour.

Still visible today are the traces of the entrance to this tower, a spiral staircase in a round tower flanking the western façade. A fortfified enclosure wall was added in the fourteenth century and the Renaissance wing in the sixteenth century.


The Baron of Cardaillac bequeathed his land to his sons. The eldest, Géraud I, settled in Lacapelle in 1270 becoming Lord of Lacapelle and an extensive surrounding area. The castle was never attacked. During the Hundred Years War the English passed it by, probably finding it too difficult to defend, and it escaped harm during the Wars of Religion... the family being represented on both sides!

The Cardaillac-Lacapelle family controlled this domain between 1270 and 1732 at which date the lack of an heir and large debts led to the sale of the lands and title to Messire François Emmanuel de Loupiac, Lord of La Deveze and Field Marshal of the King’s armies. Note that Madame de Maintenon, née Françoise d’Aubigné, the morganatic wife of Louis XIV , was a Cardaillac through her mother.

Abandoned during the Revolution, the castle was ransacked then sold as “national heritage and ¡.he outer wall was demolished. Villagers moved into the keep and, after the Revolution, clergy bought one part and used it as a presbytery until 1968.

Classed as an historic monument in 1938, it belongs to the community and it’s restoration commenced in 1992.


The Cardaillac Family

Emerging in the 8th and becoming one of the most important Quercy families, they participated in the crusades and produced numerous prelates, administrators and commanding officiers in the Roy'al armies.

Amongst the most notable was Antoine, who, in the second half of the 16 th century married one of Marie de Medicis retime, the daughter of a wealthy Italian nobleman. As Seneschal of the Quercy, he underlook the construction of the Renaissance wing of the castle. His son, François, wedded Madeleine de Bourbon Malause, a well endowered illegitimate royal child who bore him 18 children. He was killed in the battle of Fons against the protestants in 1622.
His son, Henry Victor, was created first Marquis of Cardaillac-Lacapelle by Louis XIV in 1646.

The Cardaillac motto was :

“toto noscuntur in orbe”

We are known trougthout the world.

That of Madeleine de Bourbon Malause was :

“Ignus zqt nobis vigor et regalis origo"

The fire is our strength and our royal origin.