Chateau De Portes November 2022Chateau De Portes November 2022
©Chateau De Portes November 2022|Olivier Octobre
To the assault of the Vaisseau des Cévennes!

the castle of doors

A must for medieval period enthusiasts

Discover a part of the history of the Cevennes with the visit of one of the most enigmatic castles in the world.

A Sentinel Castle

With an enigmatic architecture

A real gateway to the High Cevennes at the foot of Mont-Lozère, the Château de Portes is located on the outskirts of the Cevennes National Park listed in June 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and defies over 10 centuries of history.

The Castle of Portes offers a breathtaking view at 32 meters high on the surrounding valleys and many opportunities to hike around.

Mixing a medieval fortress and a Renaissance bastion, the Castle has undergone many successive phases of construction since the 11th century.
About 1700, the construction of a spur forming a 42° angle gives the building a spectacular architecture in the shape of a ship’s prow atypical and unique in Europe, which earned it the nickname “Ship of the Cevennes”.

Following the intensive exploitation of coal mines during the war, the land collapsed causing the ruin of the castle cracked at its base, evacuated in 1929.

Around 1960, the holes were filled in under the castle, stabilizing it. Its restoration was undertaken from 1972 by the Association “Renaissance of the Castle of Portes”. Every year dozens of volunteers, from all over Europe, lovers of heritage, give their time and passion to restore it.

The festivities


Several cultural events give you an appointment:

– Fair of May 1: ancestral livestock fair at the foot of the castle. It is now oriented towards gastronomy and crafts and attracts several thousand people each year

– Fête des Savoir-Faire: medieval and craft festival in August. Demonstration of ancient crafts (Blacksmithing, basketry, tannery, goldsmithing …) jousts, shows, period restoration

– Summer program (guided tours, stories, concerts etc…)

The Regordane Way

A thousand year old trade and exchange route

An obligatory point of passage, the building watches over throughout the Middle Ages, the ancient path known as the Regordane route that pilgrims to Saint-Gilles and crusaders making their way to the Holy Land took.

The Regordane road follows a geological fault through the Massif Central and connects northern France to the Mediterranean.

It will be at its peak in the Middle Ages, thanks to trade and exchanges: spices and silks from the East but also salt, oil, wine against dairy products, wool, hides, livestock etc… It will also be a vector of ideas and stories.

From Puy en Velay to Saint Gilles, passing through Alès and Nîmes, from drailles to paths, from roads to railway lines, this mythical route has been recognized as a great European itinerary by the Council of Europe.

Today, under the name GR700, this route is still taken by many walkers.


A village with a tragic fate

Today still, the pass of Portes remains the obligatory passage of the Cevennes by the D906 but few people know the true history of this village, scratched from the scene here nearly a century already.

Here lived since the dawn of time and until 1933, a magnificent Cevennes village contemporary of its castle. The population of the commune was close to a thousand inhabitants. Most of the inhabitants of Port shared their working day between the mine and a second profession, such as breeding, the exploitation of small agricultural plots and of course the businesses, at least 20 of which were listed. The euphoria of the aftermath of the war made everyone forget that, from 1914 to 1918, the subsoil of Portes had been allowed to turn into a termite mound… The village found itself standing on the void of the abandoned galleries. The degradations, visible and irreversible, lead the Mining Consortium to systematically destroy the buildings threatened with ruin and to exile the inhabitants.

The village was completely razed in 1933 and rebuilt 300 meters away.

On site