On September 21 and 22 2019, the chateau de Montastruc in Perigord was opening its doors to the public for the first time ever. Success was such that we decided to open again for the 2020 edition. Nearly 900 visitors came on September 19 and 20 2020 to this extraordinary and hidden private site.

France-3 television honored us with their presence and published a nice video, accessible through this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAMZEeKGTr8&ab_channel=France3Nouvelle-Aquitaine

We were very happy to share with all visitors all the steps of our restoration work that was initiated 23 years ago…

This year again, it is with great pleasure that we will open again Montastruc to the public for the 39th edition of the European Heritage days on September 18 and 19 2021, to share our passion for this great country house, our adventure as owners of a listed historical monument, and the challenges that come with it…

We will welcome visitors ourselves from 9 to 12 and 14 to 17 hours for a 60 to 90 minutes free tour.  Some members of the reading club of Lamonzie-Montastruc will second us. Without the this opening would be impossible. You will be impressed by their erudition that remains unmatched.

Sanitary conditions impose on us some rules that will be respected according to what will repeal at that time. You will come to Montastruc with no appointment. Groups will be arranged in order of arrival and registration at the welcome desk that will be posted in the upper courtyard.

The guided tour will start with a historical panorama of the site, presented in the “cour d’honneur”. It will be followed by a partial visit of the inside of the country house, and will end with a tour of the fortress walls all the way to the caverns and the venus… It is not adapted for wheel chairs. Tour is in French but depending on numbers at a given time, we might be able to assemble a group for a tour in English.

Please park your car on the large parking that will be organized like every year at the back of the chateau before the large gate opening access to Montastruc.

We are excited to welcome you then !

The château de Montastruc in Périgord has constantly mixed the great and the small history, that of the nations, of the great epics which founded them, and that more local of our valleys of Dordogne and their inhabitants. Traces of it are still visible on the walls of the caves, on the graffiti in the basements and attics. They are almost perceptible as the soul of this great house still vibrates… From the cavities with a Venus sculpted to the rock in the 5th century through to modern times, Montastruc is imbued with the affection that those who stayed there have developed for this site, attaching and remarkable. Here is a relatively recent example:

A forced stop at the Château de Montastruc

On the night of May 9, 1940, the German army violated Luxembourg’s neutrality. The grand-ducal family, exfiltrated by France, left the castle of Berg at the last minute, where they were residing. Their exile path quickly passed through the castle of La Celle-Saint-Cloud from May 11 to 18. Then by the castle of Vieux-Bost in Allier, property of François-Xavier de Bourbon-Parme on the demarcation line. Finally, at the castle of Montastruc in Périgord, under the protection of France which sends there a section of Senegalese skirmishers for its guard.

Local life is then soon organized to the rhythm of the visits that HRH the Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, her husband Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parme and their children make in the vicinity of Montastruc.

On June 16, 1940, the last Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Zita, sister of Félix de Bourbon-Parme, joined the couple at the castle. On her way into exile, she finds her brother and passes through Montastruc, accompanied by her 8 children, including her eldest Otto of Habsburg, Archduke of Austria and head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Zita & her 8 children

One can imagine the touching family scenes in the large living room of Montastruc. While the rest of the house and its gardens shine in the light of June.

They are all waiting there for a visa from Portugal which will allow them to cross Spain and reach Lisbon.

Exile in Portugal

The Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux (Aristides de Sousa-Mendes, declared in 1966 “Righteous among the nations”) refused to follow the orders of the Salazar government. Moreover, from mid-June, he issued several thousand visas without distinction people under threat and wishing to flee France.

The Luxembourg and the Habsburgs will obtain this essential visa. This is why the Grand Duchess Charlotte will say of the consul Aristides de Sousa-Mendes:

“His merit, in a time of tragedy and panic, will always be remembered by the Luxembourg refugees and those of my own family, who were saved by his initiative from a certain persecution and were thus able to reach the free countries. His humanitarian action will forever remain exemplary of the self-sacrifice with which he devoted himself to the cause of freedom and understanding of all nations and all races. “

Charlotte of Luxembourg, Grand Duchess


More sadly, illustrating the direct threats against the Grand-Ducal family, the sister of the Grand Duchess, Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, wife of the Royal Prince of Bavaria, was not given the opportunity to go into exile. She was deported to Dachau camp, then to Flossenburg. It is there that she suffered torture, resulting in her death soon after her liberation…

On June 17, the Grand Duchess Charlotte met President Albert Lebrun at the Élysée Palace. But the German victory led the French government to refuse to ensure its security any longer. With the Portuguese visa, she is authorized by the Spanish government to cross the country, with no right to stay to there, to reach Portugal, where her mother was the infant Marie-Anne of Portugal, Princess of Braganza.
The Luxembourg and the Habsburgs are now saved and can leave the chateau de Montastruc in convoy. The two families have spent serene and happy weeks, according to the testimony of Grand Duke Jean himself. As a young man, he had very fond memories of this forced stay in Montastruc.

The fight against German oppression

The Grand Duchess Charlotte will be on August 29 in London where she will lead the Luxembourg resistance from the BBC. We find her in October in the United States, then in November 1940 in Montreal where her children continue their studies. She will meet with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on several occasions and travel around the United States, trying to convince American citizens to go to war.

From 1943, the Grand Duchess Charlotte will settle permanently in London with the Luxembourg government in exile. She would speak very regularly to her compatriots on the BBC – she would become the symbol of the country’s resistance, returning to Luxembourg on April 14, 1945.

Charlotte of Luxembourg back from exile

Let’s end on a warm note making a virtual visit into the Château de Montastruc.
Find the many videos and photos of the castle by clicking on this link.

Splendid private historic residence, combining grandeur and simplicity, remaining above all a family home, Montastruc can become your haven of peace for a week or more. The castle is offered for seasonal rental, at any time of the year.

The 18th century grand kitchens of Montastruc are being restored and made accessible. A large staircase leads towards superb vaulted rooms with original pavement.

One will find from room to room the large furnace of the castle’s bakery, the cooking chimneys with a spit-roaster, and the large mechanical water pump that pushed water up to the upper floors…

“Les Champs de Bleuets” (The cornflowers fields)

Within the framework of the commemorations of the 100e anniversary of the First World War, which will take place throughout the years 2014 to 2018, many events will be organized in homage to all the belligerent, actors or victims of this war, in order to transmit the memory of this dramatic event.

The chateau de Montastruc plans to host in August 2016 and may be each year thereafter until 2018 the company “Poussieres d’etoiles” (Star Dust) which will present an important musical, historical and original show: a romantic story in the storm of the Great War… “Les Champs de Bleuets”

La Venus ou Grande-Deesse de Montastruc / Montastruc Venus or Grand-Godess

Montastruc Venus or Grand-Godess

A Venus carved into the rock wall and dated by some from the 5th century, at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire and the great barbarian invasions, is present in one of the caves of the old troglodytic site of the castle of Montastruc. It was venerated until about 1970 at the occasion of the annual celebrations of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The parishioners of Lamonzie-Montastruc then came in procession to present in the cave the Virgin of Lamonzie.

Below, an extract of the Society of the archaeologist’s gersois gives an interesting perspective over the origins of the Venus known as Grand Goddess of Montastruc…







Société Archéologique, Historique, Littéraire et Scientifique du Gers
Actes de la huitième journée des Archéologues Gersois
Montreal-du-Gers – Seviac (August 28, 1985)
Published in Auch in 1987
Pages 69 and 70:


« It is therefore manifest that this latest round of cavities concerns subways in magico-religious purpose, whose use was momentary, and where there was no place to resist and defend themselves. Their precise assignment is still often impossible, but we gradually come to understand better this problem, grace known caseload that grows every day. Thus, some may be assigned unequivocally, in funeral worship events; We know indeed much that grow under churches and cemeteries (11); they are put in parallel with the burial pits empty found in the same places, but Swales or liberating ducts in contact with manifest with tombs and sarcophagi, attest that this is funeral cults (fig.4, according to Mr. Ribas 1964). It then considers these pits or these underground as the mansions prepared by the living for the spirits of the dead. The ceiling has two crawling of these cells that we meet later, which evokes a roof, explained as well. When the cemetery is absent and the underground isolated in nature, we need to find another explanation, but always more or less magico-religious and religious. We must think of the old Chthonic myths that make mother earth the origin of all life, be it animal, vegetable, terrestrial or aquatic. We already had an opportunity to recall (12) that the source, caves, and springs were sacred, because that considered the uterine ducts of the great goddess, mistress of the underworld, origin of life in nature. Rural dwellers are necessarily always been particularly sensitive to these myths, and very conservative, they have more or less kept them since the dawn of time. It was therefore quite logical to think to practice religious ceremonies in the heart of this mother earth, to thank her and reinforce the caring attitude. Number of these constructed underground, overdrafts carefully closed to avoid intrusion of land and wildlife, are certainly intended for this use or initiation of officiating priests for the cult. In the Tarn-et-Garonne, Pessoles underground (municipality of Mirabel) delivered a statuette (fig. 5) taken at the beginning for a Virgin and child; It does match no known canon and is in fact a goddess-mother, hands crossed supporting her belly where a child’s head can suggest generator specificity. Eight meters below the surface, one had to penetrate within the Earth and shelter underground did not require such a depth. Therefore, many a place of worship that it is here. We also discovered a woodcut

(fig.6) in a 16th century work (13), which does not seem to have been known to specialists; It illustrates perfectly the worship to the goddess of the underworld, which here takes one child, symbol of life from his breast. There is a worshiping, face against earth, a man in prayer in the position of the orant and others bringing in animals of the underworld (foxes) offering. The underground, depicted many intentionally, do not allow for other interpretations; most of the entries are shown vertical, it should be noted however in the foreground as there are also from horizontal to vertical wells.
Do not forget the seated nude Goddess (fig.7), but without children this time, underground Lamonzie-Montastruc in Dordogne (15), which further strengthens this persistence of distant myths; there is also a figuration of Fox… »

Anonymous (end of the 2nd century BC, during the Hellenistic period). Discovered April 8, 1820 in the island of Melos (Milo).

Paris, Louvre Museum


The Venus de Milo in the Louvre

Material of the original: Paros marble / reproduction material: resin moulded on the original and patina

«After difficult and tumultuous negotiations, the statue was purchased by the Count of Marcellus and brought to France, offered March 1, 1821 to Louis XVIII who donated it to the Louvre»

The Venus de Milo occupies a prominent place in the history of Greek sculpture. Dated circa 100 BC, this original sculpture is a characteristic style of the end of the Hellenistic era that revives classic themes while innovating.

The Venus de Milo is indeed within the tradition of the theme created two centuries earlier by the sculptor Praxiteles. But the master of the Aphrodite of the Louvre was able to free himself from the legacy of the past and emonstrate a creative originality. If the expression on the face retains a somewhat severe coldness, the lively whole body in a twisting motion fits in all dimensions of space. The moving silhouette, with its whirling attitude and its realistic accents well say the genius of the creator of this statue.

It is on the island of Melos (known as Milo), South of the Cyclades, that the statue was accidentally discovered in April 1820 by a peasant, not far from the ruins of a Roman theatre.

Olivier Voutier, a student of marine whose ship was idling in port of the island, noticed the statue and reported it to the French authorities.

Louis Brest, consular officer, and Dumont d’Urville, acting sub-lieutenant, testified of this exceptional discovery to the Marquis de Rivière, Ambassador of France in Constantinople, seat of the Government of the Ottoman Empire, under which rule Greece depended then. At the insistence of the young Embassy-Secretary

Marie-Louis Jean André Charles (alias Lodoïs) de Martin du Tyrac, 4th Count of Marcellus (1795-1861), a diplomatic maritime expedition was organized. Thus, after difficult and tumultuous negotiations, the statue was bought with

other marble fragments by the Count of Marcellus and brought back to France in full ownership. It was presented and offered on 1 March 1821 to the King Louis XVIII, who immediately donated the statue to the Louvre.

Portrait de Lodoïs de Martin du Tyrac, Comte de Marcellus, en 1825 par Ingres

Portrait of Lodoïs de Martin du Tyrac, Count of Marcellus, in 1825 by Ingres

During her trip to France, the statue landed briefly at the Château d’Audour, in Dompierre-les-Ormes, property of the Count of Marcellus.

A first plaster cast was executed by the Louvre before any restoration and was offered to the Count of Marcellus in appreciation. This cast is still exhibited in the Château de Marcellus (lot-et-Garonne).

A resin casting (2.20 m, 110 kg) life-size with patina realized by hand and identical to the original was produced in November 2015 by the workshops of moulding of the Louvre Museum and was offered to Ségolène de Martin du Tyrac de Marcellus, direct descendant of Lodoïs, Count of Marcellus, by her husband Philippe Raynaud de Fitte.

This casting marks in 2016 the thirtieth wedding anniversary of the spouses, who met for the first time at the foot of the Venus in the Château de Marcellus. This remarkable identical new cast is exhibited in their Château de Montastruc (Dordogne).

Since its discovery, the Venus de Milo was universally celebrated, and this pious admiration would never know any eclipse. The German romantic poet Henri Heine (1797-1856) called it “Our-Lady of Beauty”. The sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) praised his “splendid belly, wide as the sea”. The poet Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) described her as follows: “pure as a strike and a harmony, o Venus, o beauty, white mother of the gods”.