Lavalade over centuries
This place have a past, a history. For centuries the generations lived there, worked there, were happy or unfortunate there. When we shall not be here any more, Lavalade will always stand and, we hope so, will still welcome for numerous years the future generations. We make our contribution to protect and perpetuate this place during our (relatively!) quick passage on this earth and in this property. It seemed to us that it was useful to remember those who preceded us there.
Bruno and Laurence
The Seigneury of the Valade can be traced in the Archives of Tarn and Garonne — King’s Council decree of March 20th, 1615. It extended then from Verlhaguet (close to Montauban) to the Barthes (close to Castelsarrasin). In the XVIth century, it belonged to the Vigier family from Moissac.
Catherine de Vigier, daughter and heiress of Jean-Jacques, Lord of Ricart, was Lady of La Valade when she married François de Pechpeyrou, Baron de Beaucaire, in 1629. She died childless, having bequeathed all her lands to her husband in her will in 1640. The descendants of François de Pechpeyrou de Beaucaire then successively owned the seigneury of La Valade.
The castle was built from the second half of the XVIIth century by Jean-Antoine de Pechpeyrou, Marquis de Beaucaire and his son Gilles-Gervais. Gilles-Gervais de Pechpeyrou, Marquis de Beaucaire gave by will in 1775 the castle and the lands of Lavalade to his cousin Jean-François de Cours.
Thus, the castle of Lavalade goes to the de Cours family, an ancient family whose first representative name was Pierre de Cours in 1020. This family held the domain of Lavalade for 170 years.
Among the successive owners of the domain:
- Charles, Vicomte de Cours, born in 1794 under the name of “Boulou Fraternité”. Ten years later, by the Court of Castelsarrasin his name was changed to “Charles Ami”. These were names aiming to be “patriotic”, a sign of sincere support of his father Jean-Antoine, Vicomte de Cours to the French Revolution… or more likely an attempt to protect his family from the murders committed by the revolutionaries ?
- His son Alfred, Baron and then Vicomte de Cours (1826 ‑1867). Alfred ordered the construction of the chapel in 1860. The griffins on the magnificent pillars of the main entrance were built at the same period by the renamed sculptors Auguste Virebent and brothers.
- Raymond de Cours (1894–1953) owned Lavalade with his sisters Madeleine and Christine de Cours: they are the last owners of their family. The dramatic floods of the Tarn in 1930, which killed a number of people in Montauban and Moissac, ruined the ground floor of Lavalade. Raymond’s two sisters urged their brother to sell the property; in 1946, it was purchased by Romain Germain, owner and farmer who settled down in France after living in Algeria. M. Germain began a large-scale fruit production using modern machines and equipment, quite a revolutionary approach at that time in Tarn and Garonne. In the 1950s and 1960s, the estate was a renowned fruit production estate and was expending each year. Lavalade encompassed some 250 hectares of orchards, mainly apple trees..
- From 1990s, the estate run into financial difficulties; it fell into jeopardy and the buildings started to deteriorate. In 1994, Jean-François Chini-Germain set out to save Lavalade with his wife Laurence. He sold out most farmlands and buildings and renovated a small part of the castle. Since 2008, Château Lavalade is a 6,8 hectare property, with a 5‑hectare ground park centuries-old trees; the castle is completed by a house near the Tarn river, a dovecote and two buildings formerly used to accommodate the agricultural workers.
In January 2015, the domain was bought by Bruno, Baron de Larminat and his wife Laurence Préveraud de Laubépierre de Vaumas. As per 2017, they have completed major phases of the renovation of the estate. Château Lavalade has been saved! It is now operated to host private and professional group events. Today like in the old days, it is a place full of charm.