The Chateau de Codignat
Tower View of the Chateau

Château de Codignat is an authentic 15th century château in the volcanic Basse-Auvergne region. In true Medieval style, it is graced with towers, a dungeon, courtines and machicolations. Elegance, rich decoration and fine furniture, trompe I’oeil frescoes in bathrooms equipped with bubbling baths, the refinement of a candlelit dinner…todays services and décor in an ancient castle.

Origins of the Château de Codignat
The village of Bort de I’Etang begins in 959 under the name of “Villa Boortense”. It takes the name of Bort in 1078 (the edge of the woods). Often mixed up with Bort-les-Orgues in Correze, the mayor in 1947 decided to add “I’Etang”, which is justified by the number of ponds on the 1680 hectares of the township.

With an altitude of 450 metres, overlooking the village, the château was, in the 12th century, a look out tower for the Ravel Château. It allowed on the eastern side to defend against the enemies coming from the Dore Valley and also to supervise one of the largest quarries (800 metres long with a height of 20metres) for the extraction of arkise, which served for centuries to build castles, churches and sarcophagus in the region.

In the beginning of the 14th century, the château took on a completely different dimension (4 times the actual one) and housed a family of small nobility, the DECODONHAC: ODES(1315), ALDIN (1328). The château then reached its peak. The suzerain remained the lord of Ravel: “High and mighty suzerain Sir Jean d’EISTANG, marquis of Sailhans, count of Ravel, Montaigut, CODEGNAT, Chas, Moissat and other places” (1662).

After several errors in the transcription of the name, CODONHAC evolved to CODOIGNAT. In 1754, it was the propriety of the administrator of Auvergne Charles Antoine Calude de CHAZERAT, count of Lezoux, lord of BORT and CODEGNAT. "The 4th clause of teh 2nd title of the local customs of lower Auvergne notes that CODOIGNAT was answerable to the king, but that appeals of the seigneury were referred to the bailiwick of the viscountcy of Ravel.”

Then CODIGNAT faded in time, neglected it was partly plundered and its stones were used to embellish the local dwellings. Only the actual building with broken down roofs remained. At the turn of the century, its roofing was restored in the “Viollet-le-Duc” manner. Between the two wars it was bought by the Prince OBOLENSKI belonging to the family of the last Tsar, who founded there a temporary refuge. The edifice became a castle-hotel and one of the finest hotels in Auvergne in 1971.

 

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