The Chateau d'Avignon

The estate of the Chateau d'Avignon is located in the heart of the Camargue, by the banks of the Petit Rhône, between Saintes Maries de la Mer and Arles, in very original natural surroundings. Today it spreads out over a little more than 21 hectares. The Chateau d'Avignon is the property of the General Council of the Bouches-du Rhône.

The "Rendezvous" at the château, listed as a historic monument, are an enjoyable occasion to discover with the family this rich part of our heritage: the Days of Spring, Château Beach, tea at the Château, castle life in the Camargue, the Envies Rhônement...

The Château is open to the public in spring and summer. In autumn and winter it is reserved for group visits and by reservation only.

The Château d'Avignon and its park

The Grand Salon of the Château d'Avignon with its walnut woodwork

The dining room, Aubusson tapestries, beamed ceiling

The bedroom called the Madame's Room, Rococo-style decoration

The kitchen at the Château d'Avignon and its coal oven, 1st prize at the 1889 World Expo

The lobby of the castle of Avignon

History of the Château d'Avignon

The building up of the estate was the work of Jean-François d'AVIGNON, 1694-1770, a native of the Comtat Venaissin.

His mother Jeanne d'ARLATAN, born to a rich Arles family, bought the Mas de SOMEYRE in 1720. Around 1739-1740, the existing house was changed, extended even, to become the château d'Avignon, as confirmed by a sketch from 1771.

After his death, having had no children, the chateau passed successively through several hands before being purchased in 1811 with its 5500 hectares by the general de MIOLLIS, count of the Empire. In 1813 its total area reached 19,224 hectares.

Louis NOILLY-PRAT (1845-1932), a famous wine merchant, bought the estate in 1893. This entrepreneur was the oldest son of Claudius PRAT, a Marseille trader and Anne-Rosine NOILLY, originating from the high bourgeoisie of Lyon. A man of industry and trade, he founded in 1870 the firm NOILLY-PRAT producing and exporting vermouth and absinthe. He completely changed his residence, giving it the most modern of comforts and the latest of technical progress. He surrounded himself with competent personalities such as Auguste VERAN, an architect of historic monuments from Arles, Louis PEYRON, architect from Marseille, and Auguste BLANQUI, master cabinetmaker from Marseille, very well-known at the time.

This latter made all the interior fittings, all of the woodwork, the door and window frames and all the furniture in the chateau d'Avignon. The architecural plans showing the state of the château, drawn up by Auguste VERAN in July 1893, attest to some changes, notably the addition of an extra bay at the end of the east wing and the moving of the monumental stairway.

On the other hand, the other constructions that make up the outbuildings were built on the order of Louis NOILLY-PRAT, set away from château, between 1893 and 1900. This group of very homogenous buildings go together with the mansion and testify to the research in modernity carried out at the end of the 19th century in a region where water is omnipresent. Together, they illustrate in an exceptional manner the themes of hygiene, comfort and the domestic organization of the bourgeois businessman in the provinces at the end of the century.

The configuration of the departmental estate of the Chateau d'Avignon, leaning on the banks of the Petit Rhône, indicates that, from the 18th century on, mastering water for irrigation and the desalination of the lands was a fundamental stake in the enhancement and exploitation of the Camargue.

At the end of the 19th century, conversions in the estate bore mainly on the modernization of the hydraulic network. From the river, the water is canalized, purified and distributed by machines, basins, canals and pipes. Moving, the water flows in a discreet manner, from drop by drop to evaporation, or noisily circulates in the powerful brewing of the pumps and water circuits.

Château d'Avignon - Route départementale 570 - 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

+33 (0)4 13 31 94

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