The Lower Courtyards
Why is this place so important ?
The castle’s inhabitants lived in the lower courtyards. They provide a wonderful testimony to daily life during the period.
The first lower courtyard provided access to the seigneurial dwellings. Here were people dressed in armour and fine dresses, and also the servants who brought the bread for baking in the Maison du Four (Oven House) and collected water from the cistern. The guards also lived in this part of the castle. The atmosphere was completely different in the second lower courtyard, in which the artisans and peasants lived and worked. Separated from the first lower courtyard by a ditch, the houses formed a veritable village within the castle’s protective walls.
An important activity predominated in the second lower courtyard. The peasants, who cultivated the vegetable gardens, fields, and the chatelain’s vines, were housed there, as was the shepherd and his herds (pigs, sheep, and goats). There were also almost certainly stables for the seigneur’s horses, donkey, and mules, which transported heavy loads up from the valley: grain, wood, and water when the cisterns were empty. Hens and geese pecked every part of the ground.
Did you know?
Inside the houses in the first lower courtyard, the walls were covered with tapestries. They were decorative and, in particular, provided protection against the cold and damp, making the rooms less austere and more comfortable.