Castle of Simiane
The castle of Simiane is inspired by the Renaissance.
During the 18th century, it was owned by Louis of Simiane. He married Pauline Adhémar of Monteil, grand-daughter of the famous Madame de Sévigné.
From medieval to classical residence :
This mansion, which was first called “Hôtel d’Eymeric” and then «Hôtel de Simiane », is the oldest and most complete remains of private architecture in the Papal Enclave. It still has two main wings, dating from the XIVth century, which you can see along the street of the «hôtel de ville» (town hall). On the southern wing, a covered passage used to link the second floor to other parts of the building that have now disappeared. You can admire the ornamentation of the only remaining original window, which gives onto the street.
The Hôtel de Simiane, as you see it now, is the result of extensions and modifications made to the medieval house of the Eymeric family over four centuries. The large main body and the northern wing were built in the XVllth century to the plans of an architect from Avignon, Royer de la Valfenière, for Louis de Simiane. But the southern wing, which makes the whole building symmetrical, was not built until the 1780s. This mansion influenced the architectural style of the Enclave thanks to its innovative style and its simplicity, the rational organisation of its spaces and the introduction of ramp stairs.
The old garden :
The large medieval garden remained until the XVIIth c and bas now been replaced by Aristide Briand square. In the medieval tradition, a high crenellated wall enclosed the garden and separated it from the main courtyard. A muscat vine arbour that was supported by thirteen high stone columns stood partly against this wall and ran across the garden. Flowers and vegetables grew in the large patches surrounded by a box hedge, and hens, pigeons and rabbits were reared behind a row of cypresses and bay-trees.
The Hôtel de Simiane in the XIXth and XXth centuries :
In the XIXth century the Hôtel de Simiane became a public building, and was used successively as a court, primary school, college and jail, before becoming the town hall.
A remarkable interior :
You can admire the large reception room on the first floor with its remarkable painted ceiling from the XVth and XVIIth centuries and its frescos from the XVIlIth century. On the second floor, the original roof structure of the Scharfroom is outstanding.
The Simiane family :
The Simiane, who were considered to be one of the most important families in Provence, are direct descendants of the former lords and barons of Cazeneuve and lords of Apt. They had the right to mint coins and to exercise prerogatives characteristic of the sovereign.
When Pauline de Castellane d’Adhémar, grand-daughter of Madame de Sévigné, married Marquis Louis de Simiane (initiator of the massive extension of the Hôtel de Simiane) in 1695, this noble house with its beautiful garden became the regional meeting point of an elegant and cultured nobility which was attracted by the parties and sumptuous evenings that the young couple held there.
Some members of the Simiane family lie buried in the crypt of the Saint Vincent chapel in the parish church of Notre-Dame de Nazareth.
From 02/01 to 30/04/2019
Opening hours on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between 10 am and 12 pm and between 2 pm and 4.30 pm.
Adult: 2 to 3 €
Child: 1 to 2 €
Group adults: 2 €.
Free entry for children < 7 years.
Group rate available for > 10 people.
Tous les 23 juin, le Château de Simiane sert de décor à la très belle festivité de la Nuit du Petit Saint Jean. L'été, il est également la toile de fond de certains spectacles du Festival des Nuits de l'Enclave.
- Tour free of charge
- Guided tours