Quick visit :
Alleuze at a glance

Castle of Alleuze, drawn by Alain Freytet.
Castle of Alleuze, drawn by Alain Freytet.

Alleuze, near Saint-Flour

The area of Alleuze, officially protected as a natural site, is located near Saint-Flour, in the Cantal. It can easily be found coming from motorway A 75, which links Clermont-Ferrand with Montpellier (exit 28 and exit 29). Please see pages Useful information.

Map of Alleuze. Hamlets of Alleuze indicated in blue.
Map of Alleuze. Hamlets of Alleuze indicated in blue.

 

History of the Castle of Alleuze

For more details see the pages headed 'Castle of Alleuze'.

There has been a castle on this site for a long time; but the existing edifice, in ruins, dates from the XIIIth and XIVth centuries : the bishop of Clermont, Guy de la Tour du Pin, reorganised the Episcopal properties located in the area of Saint-Flour and rebuilt the Castle of Alleuze following the model of that period : a square keep with four round towers. Alleuze became the most important base for the bishops in this area of Saint-Flour, for managing their properties as well as for having an outpost against the English companies, sort of privateers serving the English Aquitain.

Castle of Alleuze in winter. Photo : Marc Duval.
Castle of Alleuze in winter. Photo : Marc Duval.

At the end of the XIVth century, the English side had came very close to Saint-Flour. So, in October, 1380, Bernard de Garlan, a noble bastard coming from Brittany, seized the castle of le Sailhans (10 km N.-W. from Saint-Flour) in the name of the English Crown, then he sold it for a high price. To meet his need for another base, he seized the castle of Alleuze...

From that position, the captain was threatening Saint-Flour. The troops sent as reinforcements to defend the city were powerless against Alleuze, and Garlan strengthened his pressure on Saint-Flour, continuing his extortion. At last, in January, 1391, exacting an unbelievable price, he evacuated the fortress of Alleuze. Then Garlan enrolled himself into Jean III of Armagnac's service, going to war in Italy, after which we hear no more of him.

The inhabitants of Saint-Flour decided to raze Alleuze. But before long the bishop of Clermont brought an action against the city : eventually, Saint-Flour was condemned to rebuild the fortress. But in fact only the keep was rebuilt, without the surrounding wall...

Garlan. Photograph by J.-F. Ferraton, Saint-Flour.
Garlan, between earth and hell. Photograph by J.-F. Ferraton, Saint-Flour.

Every two years, the Tale of Alleuze

A show is given every two years, in the beginning of August. The purpose is to show off the old medieval castle, through that most important episode, the taking of the fort by Garlan, working for the English cause. (See page : The 'Tale of Alleuze' : History and Legend ) . But this story is also presented in the context of the people's life at the beginning of the XXth century. The show ends with the illumination of the castle, in memory of its destruction decided by Saint-Flour. The last play has been given (in French) in August, 2002.

Collectors' corner

The pages headed 'Post cards' present several old post cards about the site of Alleuze, the Castle as well as the Chapel.

Old post card from Alleuze.
Old post card from Alleuze.

Eyes for seeing

"Ah! The next world, the next world... Do not make me laugh with that! The world, it is the world. There are not lots and lots. Only, there is the world above and there is the world below. And sometimes, everything is turned upside down. And that is all !" Margot, the Tale of Alleuze, 1994.

The pages headed "Like an eagle "are devoted to a vision for the site of Alleuze by Alain Freytet. In his redevelopment study for the area, within the framework set out by the Municipality, he presents a proposal for improving the site and the village, after having first outlined his personal vision for the place, which confronts the World Above and the World Below.

The Cross of Languiroux. Sketch by Alain Freytet.
The Cross of Languiroux, dominating the Castle of Alleuze. Sketch by Alain Freytet.

From these reports, Alain Freytet, landscape designer, and Guy Brun, museographer, proposed two preliminary projects for the development and the preservation of the area, one about developing the collar and the Saint-Illide Chapel and arranging the river banks, the other proposes the creation of the 'House of Alleuze'. The two studies are connected obviously, in a total coherence. Please, see the pages about the Projects for Alleuze.

Day after day

The pages Events give an idea ot the activities organised in the Municipality. The municipal bulletin is also avalaible, but in French only.

 

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