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XVIIth CENTURY PRIVATE MANSIONS


  • Hôtel LEROY
    Hôtel Jean LEROY
    What does the Latin inscription «Coelum non solum» mean on the door?
  • Hôtel LEROY
    Hôtel Jean LEROY
    What does the Latin inscription «Coelum non solum» mean on the door?
 
Hôtel Jean LEROY
What does the Latin inscription «Coelum non solum» mean on the entrance door?

Détail de la façade de l'Hôtel dit de Nayrac à Castres
The emblem of power
When Castres became the seat of the Edict Chamber in 1595, it attracted numerous personalities who were appointed by the King or representatives of a given party. Their authority was not to be discussed and their house had to be representative of this power.

Built at the beginning of the XVIIth century, this private mansion stands out with its corbelled corner turret with a tapering base (cul-de-lampe) made of bricks, and its stone-framed mullion window. This brick-and-stone structure was inspired both by the architectures of Toulouse and the XVIIth century.

A two-way motto
The private mansion has kept a door on the street with a roll-pediment over it supporting a typical motto of that period. This Latin inscription, over the entrance door of the Hôtel Jean Leroy, has two possible translations. The first one is enlightening: “Heaven and not earth”. The other, more libertine for the XVIIth century would be “Not only heaven”.


  • Hôtel de Nayrac
    Hôtel Jean Oulès called NAYRAC
    What architecture had inspired this private mansion?
  • Hôtel de Nayrac
    Hôtel Jean Oulès called NAYRAC
    What architecture had inspired this private mansion?
 
Hôtel Jean Oulès called NAYRAC
What architecture had inspired this private mansion?

Détail de la façade de l'Hôtel dit de Nayrac à Castres
Under the reign of Henry the IVth, the settlement of the Edict Chamber Court and the arrival of numerous magistrates along with the economic development of that period allowed the construction of some of the major buildings of the city.
 
Hôtel Oulès
Mr Oulès, already owning a very beautiful house at the corner of the Sabaterie and Camille-Rabaud streets, decided to purchase three adjoining plots of houses which were built on the Rue Droite (Frédéric-Thomas) around 1635.

The design, the proportions and the location of the entrance door mullion windows and the corbelled turret decorate the three front aisles with rhuthm and harmony. The openings are stone-framed and bordered with apparent brick tables. The portal oculus is used as a vanishing point. The apartments aisle is situated on the south part which was in a narrow street. An inside courtyard with a little private well managed to find their place.

Today called Nayrac after the landlords'name of the following century, the private mansion is therefore treated with a very bare style, more influenced by the architecture of Louis the XIII, in the manner of the Toulouse (or Albi) architecture, mixing largely bricks and stones.

A merchant activity
The big arcades, blind on the street today, undoubtedly evoke the will to settle boutiques in connexion with the merchant activities of the person who financed the private mansion certainly with peerage pretentions as shown with the gallery high tower.

This is how the boutiques of Mr Oulès found their place on the north part in front of the Borel street. In order to focus on the importance the owner had given to the shop-sign of the two arcades opening to the street stall, the corbelled construction body coming forth over the street is the pretext for a beautiful and sumptuously decorated elevation


  • Hôtel de Viviès
    Hôtel de VIVIES
    Why isn’t the entrance door in front of the main portal?
  • Hôtel de Viviès
    Hôtel de VIVIES
    Why isn’t the entrance door in front of the main portal?
 
Hôtel de VIVIES
Why isn’t the entrance door in front of the main portal?

Détail de la façade de l'Hôtel de Viviès, en centre ville de Castres
The most beautiful private mansion of Castres in the XVIth century
The Hôtel de Viviès was built by Monseigneur de Rozel, a lawyer to the Edict Chamber.
Its construction is classical, ordered around the honour courtyard opening towards the street with a huge portal. This first element deploys the owner’s rank. It is surmounted by a sculpted tabernacle bearing the family’s coat of arms.
When entering, the visitor was welcomed by a central casement window (the reception window), opening to a baluster balcony. The entrance door shifted to the left corner is preceded by a front steps: the courtyard had to be widely available to horsemen and coaches.

The staircase as the building core
A very beautiful straight stair leads to all the floors and is situated on the centre of the building. Each door is delicately accentuated by discreet mouldings. This staircase is an actual square tower on which come the aisles perpendicularly.

This principle made possible to install a loggia on the last floor; it has been altered afterwards but its marvellous balustrade with open gallery is still there.

A little corner stair leads to the last floor and to the tiny guards’ room reminding that the building needed to be defended in case of public troubles.

A corbelling turret made of bricks of the Renaissance style called Toulousaine protects the little stair and gives the south front a peculiar look. The facades are pierced by lattice glass windows with lateral pilasters ending on a capital.


  • Hôtel de Poncet
    L’Hôtel de PONCET
    What is the name of the sculptures supporting the cornice?
  • Hôtel de Poncet
    L’Hôtel de PONCET
    What is the name of the sculptures supporting the cornice?
 
L’Hôtel de PONCET
What is the name of the sculptures supporting the cornice?

Détail d'une sculpture de la façade de l'hôtel de Poncet, à Castres
The Ligonnier family
Built on the XVIIth century, this private mansion had belonged to the grand-father on the mother’s side of the Marshal de Ligonier. This personage born in Castres in 1680, emigrated in 1697 after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. He enjoyed all his career as an active officer in England and ended as Field Marshal. He died in 1770, with every honour he could whish for, and was buried beside kings and famous men of England.


A private house of the Renaissance
The façade is only one part of the original building: we can see some decorative elements like a “génoise” (eaves typical of the southern France architecture) and a bull’s eye as well as a beautiful door frame of the same style on the next building.

A caryatid (a statue used to support a cornice) on each extremity bears a Renaissance loggia, decorated with four ionic style columns.

A gargoyle, marked by the passing of time, sits at the crossing of the two facades.

Inside, a staircase with an iron forged ramp leads to the next floor where there appear marble medallions containing in ancient times family portraits.

The staircase and the loggia are supported by a shell in trompe-l’oeil. This open façade consists of four ionic style columns surmounting a balustrade. Some caryatides support a terrace with balustrades.