The neo-Gothic-style château was built by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc at the request of Antoine d'Abbadie d'Arrrast, between 1864 and 1879. Antoine d’Abbadie, member of the Academy of Sciences, was an astronomer, explorer, anthropologist and linguist who dreamed of a castle observatory built in the Gothic style where his passions for Asian, African and Christian cultures could mingle. Abbadie’s travels throughout the world especially Ethiopia and Egypt influenced much of the interior decoration of the château. Sadly, this is one destination where photos of the interior are strictly forbidden. That’s a shame because the inside of the château is so beautiful. Some photos can be found HERE. The château consists of four main parts: the library, the observatory, the chapel and finally, living quarters. Carved from local limestone, the crocodiles which fiercely protect the entrance to the château are symbolic of Abbadie’s voyage to Abyssinia. Other emblematic and symbolic animals represented throughout the architecture and are a part of the 19th century taste for Orientalism include: elephants, monkeys, snakes, dogs, birds and snails as well as the occasional gargoyle. Battlements, towers and keep make the building look like a medieval castle. Abbadie, a passionate astronomer, built an observatory in his castle. It is the last room created at the end of the construction of the castle in 1879. In his will, Abbadie asked that scientific research continue in his observatory and that a priest provide religious services for the villagers. In 1897, with the death of Antoine d'Abbadie, the château was bequeathed to the Academy of Sciences, who continued to use the observatory until 1975 and now maintain the residence as a historical monument and tourist site. The park is adorned with palm trees and the landscape enjoys views on the ocean, the beautiful Corniche Basque and La Rhune.