Between Salon de Provence and Aix en Provence, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, the Château de la Barben is one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in the region. The château and the gardens are listed as Historic Monuments.
Built in the 11th century on a rocky peak, which made it impregnable, it belonged successively to the Pontevès family, then the King René in the 15th century and then the Forbin family for nearly 500 years.
In 1963 it was purchased by Mr André Pons, who quickly opened it to the public. Today, his eldest daughter continues this welcoming tradition. The Château has become the setting for events throughout the year: egg hunts at Easter, candlelight tours of the Château in summer, medieval banquet and shows in mid-August, Heritage Days, Halloween night...
Lived in and completely furnished, the Château offers one-hour tours led by costumed guides that draw the visitor right into the Middle Ages and into the history of the Château and of Provence.
Starting February 16, tours with medieval staging lead you into the Château's underground passages and dungeons, letting you discover along the way the daily life of the knights and the fortified castle. Puzzle-solving games and treasure hunts are organized for children.
The gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, are open to the public on certain days. Visitors find themselves in an absolutely beautiful setting, perfect for daydreaming and romance, with ponds, fountains, statues, a stream shaded by hundred-year-old sycamores and even a 30-metre long underground passage.
For a weekend or a longer stay, the proprietors offer you a choice of 4 luxurious guest rooms as well as meals at the table d'hôtes served in a medieval décor.
The Barben Zoo is also not far away.
The Château on its rocky outcrop
The medieval kitchen in the Château
Fountains and Gardens at the Château
The gardens designed by Le Nôtre
A salon in the Château
Château de La Barben - Route du château - 1330 La Barben
+33 (0)4 90 55 25 41http://www.chateaudelabarben.fr