PHOTOS: €527,000 buys you ancient castle with a museum in west France

‘It may be little but it’s the real thing’

Aerial view of the Château de Magrin in Tarn, France
Aerial view of the Château de Magrin in Tarn, France
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An ancient castle that has been home to Gauls, Romans, Visigoths, nobles and bandits is for sale in the south-west of France for just over half a million euros. It is now a home and a museum.

The Château de Magrin sits on top of a little hill halfway between Castres and Lavaur in Tarn (Occitanie). 

“It may be a little castle but it’s the real thing: stone walls, a great hall, walls and a tower,” estate agent Marie-Céline Chavanne told The Connexion.

“People will have to adapt to it, but as with all castles the buyer will also have to invest in building work.”

The need for building work is understandable given the little castle’s long history, records of which go back to 1224, when the chatelain declared his allegiance to Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, who had reconquered Toulouse from Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.

Inside view of the Château de Magrin

Long before that, it is believed to have been a stronghold for the Gauls and then for Romans.

The Visigoths, during their 200-year rule over the region after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire are also believed to have settled there. 

However, not even the castle’s two remaining buildings and outer wall remember that, as they were built a thousand years after the Visigoths lost their capital in Toulouse.

During the hundred years war, located in a region of split allegiances, the Château de Magrin was a base for bandits, who raided the surrounding countryside.

Destruction and rebirth

The Château de Magrin was burned during the French Revolution , as was the fate of many castles during that time.

The last owner, historian and journalist Patrice Rufino, started to restore it in the 1970s, using it to host a museum to the local woad industry.

Called pastel in French, the pretty little yellow flower became known as ‘blue gold’ in the south of France, where a vast industry grew to turn the plant into blue dye.

The dye was still used in army uniforms as late as World War One.

Read more: Skills of making pastel blue dye in Tarn added to French heritage list  

The castle is for sale with Sotheby’s Realty France for €527,000. However, Ms Chavanne estimates it could require significant restoration work of €300,000, which surprises some foreign buyers, she said.

“That’s life for castles,” she said. “People are impressed by everything about them”.