A Setting Brimming With History and Emotions
Until the 16th century the successive barons of Portets exercises their rights to the land of Château de Portets, a fortified castle.
The château de Portets would then become the residence of the Baron de Montferand.
In 1587 the Château de Portets belonged to Guillaume of Gascq, the Baron of Portets. His family would stay head of this lordship for the next two centuries. The last living representative of this ancient family would cede their property to Valdec of Lessart just before their death in 1781. Valdec of Lessart then sold the property four years later to the Séguineau of Lognac family. The later would remain the owner of the Château until the end of the 19th century.
The story of the Château and the Théron family started in 1956 when Jules Théron acquired the property. He was an agronomy engineer as well as the President of the Gerneral Advice Board for the Oran area of Algeria. The buildings were in a dire state of disrepair, having been abandoned after being occupied by the Germans in World War 2.
With the help of his son Jean-Pierre, an agronomy engineer as well as oenologist, Jules Théron invested considerable time and energy to renovate the derelict Château. The Théron family brought back to life the “sleeping beauty” or Château de Portets.
In recent decades the château’s former splendor has been uncovered. With its forged iron gates, grand stairwell, tower, vast courtyard, and gardens, the château is the most majestic building in the city of Portets.
Today, Marie-Hélène Yung-Théron, the granddaughter of Jules Théron works hard to continue with the tradition of stewardship that started with Mr. Séguineau de Lognac and continued with Jules Théron.
The Romans, King Henry the IV, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Napoléon….the Château de Portets, its parish and port make up an important part of local heritage
The port of Portets bears witness to the local history of the Graves region
The Château de Portets bears the name of its parish, the origins of which started one thousand years B.C.E. when Ligurian and Iberian peoples found refuge along a river that would then become the Garonne. When the Romans conquered the region, they built the port and developed river commerce, including viticulture which would bring about the notoriety of Portets.
It is perhaps because the port, parish and château all share the same name that the Château de Portets has been revered as majestic. At first glance, we see rising up among the vines the elegant Tower of Roy which served to control the traffic of the barges along the Garonne.
It is perhaps because the port, parish and château all share the same name that the Château de Portets has been revered as majestic. At first glance, we see rising up among the vines the elegant Tower of Roy which served to control the traffic of the barges along the Garonne. The river today has lost much of its commercial activities. However until the 18th century shipping was very heavy along the river. Three different ports coexisted: the old port called “Port Madame”, in honor of the wife of the Lord of Portets, Antoine de Gascq; a second port called the “Port du Roy”, in remembrance of a visit from Henry IV as well as the Port de Portets which runs alongside the supporting wall to the château’s terrace.
The château and its surrounding vines majestically dominate the river banks of the Garonne. The view is spellbinding. With its Renaissance-style architecture, Château de Portets is a dominating feature of the river bank. Looking up from the river, we see its lofty stone terrace that Napoléon engraved in 1808, and to the left, the charming port quarter, with its beautiful house which served as an inn during the 17th century. The house is beautiful without being ostentatious, with all the elegance of classical architecture. Further up behind the Château we find the Château de Mongenan, a decorative building from the period of Louis XV, along with its museum. The château’s botanical garden, inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau who stayed at the Château de Mongenan, is listed among the Notable Gardens of France.