The Square Tower
This tower was built between 1200 and 1230. The only entrance was by a ladder
placed at an opening 5m above ground level, which made it easy to defend. The
actual entrance was pierced during the last century, through walls 1m20 thick.
Square Tower in back of the rampart
main lanes went across the village in the 13th century. - in the lower part
the lane leading from the Summer Gate to the Sand Quarry Gate ; this lane called
"Public Street" in 1464. - in the upper part the lane leading from the Duke's
Court to the "Pousterle".
In the lower part of the village, this is overlooked by the Summer Tower built
Gate of the Sand Quarry
Going towards the ford, this is the best preserved gate.
On the north side, near Château, a wide gate has been closed up : there
is a postern for the northern gateway. To-day, this area is still called "La
There remain three knight's houses dating from 13th century. Two are in the
lower part of the village, near the Old Church, and one on the rampart near
the New Gate. They are the finest houses in the village and they were modified.
These noble dwellings, like the towers, had to be higher than their neighbour's
The Old Square
Up to the end of the 11th century, this was the heart of the village, near
the Old Church and on the lane leading from the Summer Gate to the Sand Quarry
called "Public Street" in 1464. Notice and admire the mullioned windows, medevial
booths, and the old municipal notice board, carved out of the rock.
This large building without particular
character surmounts the rocks. A first construction, a donjon, was built in
the same time than the first rampart in the 11th century. It was changed in
the 13th centuries with new constructions. This was the residence of the lords
of Balazuc after they abandoned the old chateau known as Chastel-Vieilh.
the ramparts, this funeral chapel, dating from the 13th century, was under the
direct authority of the Bishop of Viviers. At Balazuc, a joint lordship exercised
power, both laic and religious. Above the entrance to the chapel a much damaged
carved shield represents a sparrow-hawk. In 1300 the lord of Balazuc was called
Guillaume des Eperviers (sparrow-hawk). The chapel was a ruin in 1762.
the Baptist's Chapel
Knight's House built over the rampart
the 13th century the village spread out and it is surrounded with the rampart.
The Square Tower stands on the greatest hill. A fortified gate guards the road
to the river.
Balazuc conserves many vestiges of its powerfull medieval walls. Larges portions
of these still existe, intact or pierced with windows, this makes much of
its charm. The 12th and 13th centuries were troubled times of between the
Cathares (or Albigeois) and the kings of France. Many towns and villages
The first rampart
Two of the oldest gates remain, one below the Old Church, on the path leading
down to the river, the other near the centre ; it is protected by a lateral
loophole. A portion of the wall is still visible, incorporated in the wall
of a house.
This wall was probably built in the 11th century with the first keep, a part
of the actual castle.
Few vestiges of it remain as many of its stones were reem-ployed in later
buildings. The area fortified was small and limited to the lower part of the
village around the romanesque Old Church.
The second rampart
This wall enclosed an area three or four times larger than the first. It was
built during the 13th century with a new keep (the Square tower), a fortress
near the Old Church, the houses known as the "knights' houses" and
the enlargement of the castle , to receive the court of the lords of Balazuc.
The fortified part called "Castrum" in a document of 1464,
gave security to the rich families of the village and its sur-roundings, including
artisans and local peasants.
During the Hundred Years War, this wall was a protection from the bands of
"Routiers", brigands who devasted the countryside.
gate and rampart : 12th century
youngest rampart : 13th century
IN THE 13th CENTURY
chateau was restored recently to offer some "chambres d'hôtes"
or French-style Bed and Breakfast.
two stages to build the chateau.
house the Bailif, main officer
of the lord.