Château de la Roche Courbon and its gardens

Château de la Roche Courbon is a huge château in the French département of Charente-Maritime that was built on the site of an earlier castle. It is located between Saintes and Rochefort in the commune of Saint-Porchaire. The château is privately held and designated as a historic landmark. The French Ministry of Culture has designated the garden as one of France’s Significant Gardens and a historic monument.

The Château of La Roche Courbon is a big château in the French département of Charente-Maritime that evolved from an older castle. Around 20 minutes by vehicle from Rochefort.


Jehan II de Latour constructed a fortification with two major structures, four formidable towers, and a large keep in 1475. The marsh naturally defends this fortified fortress, built in the shape of a triangle on a rocky outcrop. The Tour de la Fuye stands watch in front to the north.

Jean-Louis de Courbon altered La Roche-Courbon in the seventeenth century, as seen in the picture by Dutch painter Jan Hackaert (1628-1685).

Sumptuous French-style gardens surround the castle. The primary structure lets in light. Five Tuscan columns support a beautiful balcony. The grounds are reached through a double-level stairway.

A spacious patio is surrounded by shrubs and flanked by two Louis XIII-style pavilions. Jean-Baptiste Mac Nemara, a lieutenant of the Frigate and ensign of a maritime company, married Julienne Stapleton, the daughter of Jean Ier Stapleton, one of Nantes’ first Irish, in 1713. He purchased the castle considerably later, in 1756, just before his death, for 130,000 pounds.

The Marquis Sophie-Jacques de Courbon Blénac moved in the castle in 1785 and began a series of renovations, including the grand stone stairway and the wrought iron gates in the grounds.

The Revolution is taking place, and the marquis has not emigrated. His daughter sold the estate at auction in 1817. So starts La Roche Courbon’s lengthy repose before its second rebirth in the twentieth century.

Pierre Loti (a French naval officer and author noted for his exotic novels and short tales) frequently visited his sister’s house at Saint-Porchaire on vacation. On his hikes around the surrounding countryside, he became enchanted by the abandoned, in ruins, castle of Roche Courbon in the center of the brushwood. It was quickly dubbed the “castle of Sleeping Beauty” by the author.

Following the war of 1939-1945, the estate was designated as a Historic Monument in parts in 1925 and as a whole (castle, gardens, and park) in 1946.


The Renaissance arcades embellish the front of the castle, which was renovated in the 17th century. A double-level stairway leads from the Renaissance patio to the French-style gardens.

Currently, the Château de la Roche Courbon is open all year and provides rental rooms for weddings and other professional or private gatherings. There are several activities available (old games, medieval festival, escape game, Christmas market, etc.).

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