Beaufort castle (Loire Valley)

Private tours from Paris to the unusual castles of the Loire, Guide and description. On the Loire Castles map, Beaufort is located much further south towards Lyon and further towards Montpellier.
Photo: historical views of Beaufort Castle on old postcards from the beginning of the 20th century. Northwestern part along the Costaros road.

Castle – Fortress Beaufort (Château de Beaufort), Goudet village.
Short history. Beaufort Castle is located in the upper reaches of the Loire River, Haute-Loire department, Auvergne region, France. It was built around the beginning of the 13th century on a rocky hill for observation and control of the valley, while remaining inaccessible.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was reconstructed and modernized, becoming a defensive structure during the Hundred Years War and during the religious wars. At the time of the original construction, the castle courtyard had the shape of a square. Living quarters were located on the southern part.
In the 15th century, the fortress was reinforced with a second wall, which had loopholes for archers. In the 16th century, Antoine de la Tour added a horseshoe-shaped tower in the southwestern corner of the castle and another one in the northwestern part of the structure.
After the French Revolution, the castle lost its defensive value and was abandoned, which led to the gradual destruction of the fortress and its transformation into ruins.
In 1994 Beaufort Castle was included in the register of monuments of cultural and historical heritage.

Goudet village.
Location. Whether you are coming to Costaros (7 km), Monastier-sur-Gazey (14 km) or Salette (7 km), you will see the amazing beauty of the Goudet Valley with its castle of Beaufort, which overhangs and provides dominance.
There is also a village with a colorful belfry made of polychrome tiles, as well as yellow, green and red arranged scales.
The position of the church and the closed monastery make this center an interesting historical site.
The village is crossed by three streams, Holmes, Riou White and Furaguetta, which flow into the Loire. They also pass through part of the village and rise up to 35 kilometers upstream into the Gerbier Rush mountains. On either side of the Loire we find basalt.
The locals are called Goudétois or Goudétoises. The last census took place in 2017. 31 houses in which 60 people live all year round, and 91 one visits to their second home.
We see that unlike other rural communities, our number of inhabitants per year remains stable and we are delighted!

History. It is assumed that the settlement of the village dates back to Roman times. Indeed, the bridge of the Loire was in ancient times an important crossing point for the river. Thus, the Roman legions stationed on the plateau (the Celtic camp of Antuna) observed the privileged structure from a fixed watch post located on the Pipet rock (Pipet tower). It was on the site of the Bord de l’Eau camp that the first village of Goudet settled in the 5th century. The origin of the name Goudet comes from “godit” place of prayer (Celtic).
Around 850, a hermitage was founded by a character named Didier, after partial destruction, it ceded to the Goudet area called Le Clos (there are traces of this hermitage in this area).
In 869, Charles the Bald, King of France, ratified a donation made to Father Galon and the monks of St. Philibert, a place called Godit, in the diocese of Puy, to establish a monastery there.
In the thirteenth century Goudet will become a stronghold thanks to the castle of Beaufort, it will be destroyed during the Hundred Years War. Rebuilt in the 15th century, it would protect Goudet during the wars of religion.
In 1739, the exploitation of the lead mine in Ribier and in La Flache began. This mineral was used in the manufacture of lacquers for potters, and the owners hoped to supply the Languedoc and neighboring provinces. Unfortunately, the running costs were such that the Compagnie des Mines d’Auvergne was forced to suspend operations in 1750.
In the 19th century Goudet lived by three activities: agriculture (livestock), a plaid with lace called “Pui” and making hats (felt) from sheep’s wool. These hats were certified by King Louis XIV. The first official reference to this hat-making activity is found in a lease dated 1700, but its creation can be decently attributed to the Benedictine monks of the monastery of Goudet. In 1801, a report indicates that there were 30 production shops, from which 16 to 18,000 hats were produced annually. This was the golden age of manufacturing, and Goudet was the center of this industry in the Haute-Loire department. The end of the 19th century will be marked by the decline of the hat industry in Goudet: the main reasons were the change of fashion, the difficulties of marketing, the decline of fairs.
On June 13, 2017, Goudet was devastated by the rising waters of the streams, which burst from their bed and crossed the village, invading the houses.

Castle-fortress Beaufort and the patriotic education.
The sinister tyrant of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler, in order to win the sympathy of young people, included visiting the ruins of the East Prussian castles in the education program. But at the same time, French youth also studied the history of their country and visited the ruins of castles such as Beaufort. This castle is world history and cultural heritage of an entire era, so youth organizations in France also liked to visit such places. For scouts, both British-American and French, trips to the ruins of ancient castles were part of the program for the study of history in practice, so to speak, “hiking boots”.

Useful advice.
If you are traveling in France with the children, then visiting the ruins of the Beaufort fortress will be remembered by them more than the “classic” castles offered for group excursions.
Private tours are possible from Paris to the Chateau Beaufort and the Chateaus of the Loire from Paris with an English-speaking tour guide in a Taxi in Paris and Nice car or minibus. Given its position, a two-day tour in the direction of Montpellier is recommended. See prices in section.