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“Interesting Visit”

Forteresse de Mornas
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Mornas
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Visited last week. Opening hours were difficult to find - but, for clarification, during July and August the castle opens at 10am, closes for lunch at 12.30 and then re-opens at 2pm until (I think) 5pm.
The only visits available during July and August are "anime" - in other words, guided visits. These are in French, although the guides do their best to help you if French is not your first language.
The tour was very good - learnt a lot about life during the Middle Ages and the sword-fighting demonstration was fun. Lovely views of the surrounding countryside from the top - although, be warned, the walk up is very steep indeed.
Recommended for those who speak French - and for those, like me, who are able to whisper a rough translation, to their family!

1  Thank dundeemeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 14, 2012

Mornas castle was built by the counts of Toulouse from 1125 onwards. The fortress served to dominate the valley of the Rhône river and collect taxes from ships passing by.

At the end of the thirteenth century the castle became property of the pope, who confied it to the knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.

During the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) the French countryside was ransacked and pillaged by gangs of deserted soldiers, the so called Routiers. Mornas castle prevented them from entering the Rhône valley and protected the road to Avignon, the papal capital. The popes had its walls reinforced in 1342, 1370 and 1378.

In 1562 the catholic defenders negotiated the surrender of Mornas castle to the Marquis of Montbrun. Once inside the walls the latter broke his promise. Seniors, women and children who were hiding in the chapel were butchered. The soldiers of the garrison were thrown from the castle rock onto pikes waiting below.

In 1568 Mornas castle was taken for the catholics by François de Baume. He ordained the same fate for the protestant occupants of the fortress.

From 1789 onward the castle was abandoned and slowly fell to ruins.

At present the walls of Mornas castle still look mighty impressive and its defences are largely intact.

Two gates with a fourteenth century barbican in between provide access to the east section of the ramparts. Via a third gate atop a flight of stairs the core of the castle can be accessed. This part of the fortress, comprising the house of the commander (only wall fragments remaining), living quarters, the keep (platform non accessible) and the chapel could be defended autonomously.

Looking down from the west section of the ramparts you can see the remnants of the city walls in the valley.

Several tunnels run under the castle. Alas, non can be visited for the moment due to risk of collapse.

The lower court is separated from the main castle by a broad ditch, cut in the rock. Its ramparts and towers are in urgent need of repair and therefore cannot be accessed. Apparently at one time the lower court could be reached directly from the valley via wooden flights of stairs.

During weekends or daily in july and august costumed guides show visitors around providing valuable information about the history and layout of castle and about life in the Middle Ages (hygiene, food and drinks, justice, ...) in an interactive and entertaining way. Afterwards you can wander around freely.

I spoke with several of the costumed guides after our tour. All were volunteers with a passion for Mornas castle and the Middle Ages. They were most friendly and took ample time to answer my questions regarding the premises.

2  Thank Iweinvanaalst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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