Today was a misty day in Gascony with light rain all day. While our falconry demonstration was cancelled at Larressingle, we were still able to have a great time. We went to the picturesque Chateau de Lavardens. Note: We are having difficulties with internet connections (which are hit and miss in Gascony) so there may be continued delays in upholding pictures and blogs from France.
The Chateau is what you expect a castle built in white stone, perched on top of a hill overlooking the rolling hills of Gers en Gascogne with medieval Castlenau homes nestled around it. This was the home of the House of Armagnac. The Count of Armagnac opposed the King of France who 1496 laid siege to the castle and eventually took it by force. The Count went to prison and died as broken man. The Castle was given to the Navarre family – as in Henri IV. Henri IV eventually gave it to Antoine de Roquelaure, a Marechal de France who previously had the good fortune and good sense to rescue Henri IV in battle. In 1620, Antoine started construction to rebuild the castle, which had been left in ruins from the 1496 siege. It was a gift to his young wife of Suzanne the Bassabat, 16. Antoine was in his sixties at the time but still had a great number of children. Unfortunately, the castle construction was interrupted by the Black Plague. Later those pesky peasants revolted in the French Revolution, the nobles were able to escape France and the castle was divided among various families and again fell into disarray.
We finished the night with wonderful giant meat pies made by our hostess with the local blond D’Acquitaine cows – these white cows are grass fed and thus tend to be a bit tougher than American cows (though also less fatty). It was incredible – a perfect match with the dry local wine that she served. We then had crepes flambé with Armagnac, which the kids loved.