Château de Lamarque

The Médoc peninsula is known for its many grand and distinctive châteaux, from the imposing majesty of Château Margaux, to the more exotically styled Château Cos d’Estournel, and every style between. Many are centuries old, built by noblemen and later (especially after the Revolution) merchants, their towering walls of pale limestone and elegantly slate-tiled roofs communicating their status and wealth to all who saw it.

Among them, however, there are a few châteaux which speak of older times. These châteaux display not an elegant Renaissance form, but have a more Medieval construct. I could rattle off a few names (from among the ranks of the classed growth Château La Tour Carnet springs immediately to mind) but none of them can hold a candle to Château Lamarque. Indeed, I suspect there are very few Medieval castles anywhere in Europe that could match this property, centuries old, and still in the possession of the descendants of its ancient originators.


The history of the seigneurie of Lamarque dates back close to a thousand years, at least to the time of Amanieu de Lamarque (died 1160), Seigneur de Lamarque, who lived during the 12th century. At this time he had built a castle – predating that which stands here today – in a position very close to the Gironde. At the time the newborn Kingdom of France, ruled by the first sons of the Capetian dynasty, was subject to attack by marauding Vikings, and the purpose of the castle was to help protect the Médoc from such attack.

Château de Lamarque

During the ensuing years the seigneurie was passed through the generations, to Ithier de Lamarque (1080 – 1160) and at least two generations both named Garsion de Lamarque, one of whom was responsible for upgrading the castle to more or less what we see now (pictured below, viewed from the vineyard). He built it directly after returning from the Crusades, so perhaps he was more concerned about marauding Moors than Vikings (or quite possibly I have just watched too many Robin Hood films).

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