Château de Calmont d'Olt
The Château de Calmont d'Olt is a castle situated in France, in the Aveyron département in the commune of Espalion. Perched atop a basalt dyke at an altitude of 535 m, it overlooks from 100 m the town of Espalion and the valley of the Lot. It provides a panoramic view of the Aubrac highlands.
Flint fragments and a polished stone axe are evidence of occupation of the site for 5000 years. The ministerium Calvomantese was first mentioned in 883, in documents from the Abbey at Conques. It has always had a military significance, commanding the road from Rodez to Aubrac and, more widely, the crossing of the River Lot on the Toulouse-Lyon route.
The building of the castle was begun in the 11th century built and continued until the 100 Years War with the building of a second curtain with eight towers in 1400. Beyond this date, there was no further development. Abandoned by its owners in the 16th century, the castle fell to ruin.
The castle, in its present state, is an important milestone in the history of castle building in medieval Rouergue. It bears witness to the architectural adaptations of castles to the technical progress of the 100 Years War.
- For detailed chronology, see French Wikipedia.
Registered as a historic monument (Monument historique) by the French Ministry of Culture, in 1987 the castle was bought by Thierry Plume who gradually renovated it and had it classified in 1992. From this date, with the assistance of Bâtiments de France and the regional archaeological service and thanks to the help of volunteers working summers with the castle team, the site has little by little been reborn.
The castle is part of the Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue (Route of the Lords of Rouergue)which groups 23 castles. In 1997 it was awarded the Trophée du Tourisme culturel en Midi-Pyrénées (Trophy of cultural tourism in Midi-Pyrénées).
The site highlights the theme of siege warfare. Full scale war machines have been reconstructed, and visitors may assist in the launching of projectiles with:
- siege tower from the 15th century with bombards
- couillard from the 15th century
- trébuchet from the 14th century
- pierrière from Petrus de Eboli from the 12th century
- pierrière from the siege of Toulouse from the 13th century
- Official Château website (French)
- Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue website, with photos (English)
- Ministry of Culture database entry for Château de Calmont d'Olt (French)