Fortress of Miolans
St-Pierre Albigny, Savoy, France
Asking Price between € 3-4 million
This impressive medieval castle is located in the heart of the Savoy Valley, and is situated on a strategic site 200 meters (550 feet) above the hamlet of Miolans, which part of the small town of St-Pierre Albigny in eastern France.
The site has been occupied since the 4th century AD, with the earliest reference to the fortress going back to 1083. By the second half of the 14th century, the lords of Miolans extended the fortifications with a second tower, and a third tower was added in the early 16th century.
In 1523 the ownership of the castle passed to the Counts of Savoy, and for the next two hundred years would serve as a prison. More than 200 people could be kept within the fortress, which became known as the Bastille of the Alps. The names of its dungeons included Hell, Purgatory, Paradise and Treasury. Among its most notable ‘guests’ was the Marquis de Sade, until he escaped in 1792. All the prisoners were freed during the French Revolution and the castle fell into ruin. It has currently been in the same family for almost six generations and the entire fortress was given full listing by the French Historic Monument Society in 1944.
The current building sale involves the fortress’ only “Haute-Cour” (High Court), the main, and the oldest, part of the estate reigning over the entire site and spanning two levels between the Saint-Peter’s Tower and the keep. Several large buildings are dotted around a surface area of almost 3,500 m² (0.86 acres) composed of gardens and terraces with their espaliers:
- The 23 m (75.5 ft) high keep covering approx. 160 m² (1,722 sq ft). This main, quadrangular part of the castle is flanked by three turrets. Topped with a terrace, sheltering six levels of rooms accessed via a spiral stairway, it alone forms the heart of the site because of its significant historic past and its impressive construction on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley.
- The south-west tower known as “Saint-Peter’s Tower” covering approx. 70 m² (753 sq ft), topped with a terrace and sheltering three vaulted levels. The dominant section of the fortress that provides an impressive panoramic view from Mont-Blanc to the Vercors mountains, this tower was originally used for living purposes and Seigneurial matters.
- The Commander’s quarters and the kitchens set up on the north-east side of the Haute-Cour, were originally used as a reception room and accommodation for the Seigneurs.
- Various buildings and annex constructions that predominantly include the guard room, ramparts, curtain walls, underground passageways and vaulted galleries.
The entire property cannot actually be lived in as it is in a state of “ruin”. However, the good quality and the good state of repair of the entire carcass due to regular maintenance and significant structuring restoration works should be pointed out. The site is currently open to the general public and throughout the year hosts miscellaneous, institutionally renowned, cultural events.
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For more details, please visit the Patrice Besse website