In the lair of the castle of Saint-Martory

The building has seen the history of Comminges unfold beneath its foundations. The story of its construction is above all the story of a family: the Montpezats who descended from their tower on the heights of Saint-Martory to build a castle in the heart of the city, this was in the 16th century. Since then the castle has not moved although its appearance has changed since its construction. “It was well situated for river transport, it could even charge taxes. Something that unfortunately I can no longer do now” laughs the owner of the building Jean-François Delort.

Over the centuries, the walls have undergone many transformations.

Especially after the French Revolution when the Prince of Berghes married the owner’s daughter and decided to give the castle a makeover. He then called upon Ruprich Robert, a disciple of Viollet le Duc, who made the Château de Saint-Martory one of the only castles in the area that already evoked the architecture that the Loire castles would later adopt . “He was a visionary and this is the beautiful originality, it distinguishes the castle, you remember it when you pass by,” assures the owner.

Tossed from owner to owner, the condition of the castle deteriorated more and more. And it was only in 1990 that the castle was bought by the father of the current owner.

Between tradition and modernity

“My father often went on holiday to Ariège, we have family there and he drove the car past the Château de Saint-Martory, each time he said: I will buy it one day and he succeeded” recalls Jean- Francois. When his father died, it was Jean-François who inherited the castle. He is then faced with a choice: sell the castle or take care of it. He then decided to keep the castle in the family. and uses his talents as a decorator to decorate the various rooms and rooms of the castle. “At first I was looking for vintage furniture and then one day I asked myself why not mix genres a little, so I started adding paintings with rappers on them, contemporary works. My favorite pieces remain the same, the yellow living room, with its cozy atmosphere and the room where I had a pool table installed”.

A successful blend of modernity and tradition, the fruit of several years of work and above all the bequeathing of numerous pieces of furniture to Jean-François by his friends. “If we take one of the rooms, we can have old paintings on one side, on the other a fairly contemporary desk, in one corner a television and books from all eras. The idea is to make the rooms of the to decorate the castle with works/furniture/decorative objects that will modernize the room. Unlike the waiting room, which I wanted to decorate in a more classic, older way,” observes Jean-François.

Another particularity of the castle: a corridor. Quite common these days, corridors were the must of modernity after the revolution and avoided the enfilade passage that was very popular at the time. “This is what makes this castle a deeply modern building, even though it is five centuries old,” adds the owner.

The main spiral staircase provides access to the various rooms, each as original as the next.

“I like to mix genres, my goal is to decorate to give my clients the impression that they are at home,” specifies Jean-François. And to reinforce this “at home” atmosphere, the owner has a technique of his own; he puts books down everywhere. “Travel, literature, photography, I even have for the children,” says Jean-François.

respect the old ones

The highlight of the show remains the double bedroom at the top of the castle. “Before there was an attic, we destroyed it, then we discovered this high ceiling and these exposed beams. We then decided to strengthen the ceiling and the walls. The beams are from the period, they bring a cachet to the bedroom.

Then for the furniture, I looked for furniture, especially the armchairs that come from Brazil.”

A respect for the old with a touch of modernity which is also found in the small holdings of the castle, also recently renovated. “We had to set up a large kitchen for the chef and, of course, a room for weddings and seminars,” specifies Jean-François. If the kitchen side is at the forefront of technology, on the dining room side, the period furniture contrasts with the contemporary paintings on the wall.

A clever mix that redefines the soul of the estate, which has changed a lot since its construction. “We went from a place of life and river traffic to a meeting place” concludes Jean-François Delort.

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