The Barons of Castelnau de Bretenoux fortified this site, at the meeting place of several valleys, as early as the 13th century. Around the strong keep, there grew up during the Hundred Years’ War a huge fortress with a fortified curtain wall. The castle was embellished in the 17th century by the last of the Castelnaus with the addition of large windows, richly decorated salons and a balcony of honor. Sadly, the castle was abandoned in the 18th century and suffered depredations at the time of the Revolution. In 1851 it caught fire but was carefully restored between 1896 and 1932 when it took on a new lease of life after being purchased by Jean Mouliérat, a tenor at the Opéra-Comique de Paris. The ground plan is that of an irregular triangle flanked by three round towers partially projecting from each side. Three parallel curtain walls still defend the approaches. Along the ramparts there are far reaching view of the Cère and Dordogne valleys to the north; of Turenne castle set against the horizon to the northwest; and of Loubressac castle and the Autoire valley to the south. The oldest part of the complex is a tall square tower and seigniorial residence known as the auditoire made of red ironstone. The interiors are remarkable for Jean Mouliérat’s enormous art collection. The collection is disseminated across seven rooms on the first floor of the château and reflects the grand art collections of the 19th century. It shows Mouliérat’s eclectic passion for objets d′art, furniture, glass, stone and religious carvings. Before his death in 1932, he donated the château to the State under one condition: that the art collection should remain in its original arrangements. The guided tour of the apartments begins along the eastern wing of the château. Here Mouliérat laid out a sculpture garden, set out between plants. For conservation reasons, part of this collection is now presented underneath the arcaded portico, the grand salle and the petite salle. The great hall houses 13th to 17th century sculptures of various origins and an early Middle Age sarcophagus slab placed on a panel covering an old well. In the small room, a former bakery, there are the 12th century capitals from the old Romanesque church in Sainte-Croix-du-Mont in the Gironde department and two 16th century capitals with Corinthian leaf patterns. A late 15th century Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, a Languedoc sculpture influenced by Flemish art and of outstanding quality, still has some traces of color. Beneath the gallery, there are two remarkable 12th century illustrated capitals from the old church at Sainte-Croix-du-Mont; the Resurrection of Christ and the Betrayal by Judas on the Mount of Olives, and a 15th century Archangel Michael flanked by recumbent statues. After entering the antechamber, there is a large collection of cupboards and armoires to admire from the 15th to 18th century. The beautifully painted, stained glass roundels in the windows represent the Archangel Michael as well as a 17th century marriage. Crossing through the vaulted 13th century keep, one enters the bedchamber of Mouliérat’s wife. It has a richly decorated fireplace that was acquired by the tenor from a nearby mansion at Tauriac in the Dordogne. The room features a Gothic style chest, a table decorated with columns, a canopied four poster bed (16th century), linen closets with diamond point décor, Spanish chairs with high leather backs (17th century), an early 18th century Aubusson tapestry and a wooden statue of the Virgin and Child from the 16th century. Jean Mouliérat’s bedroom has a splendid combination of antique furniture and objets d′art. It is filled with Gothic and Renaissance style furniture: chests, chairs and tables as well as an 18th century sofa. Many 16th and 17th century paintings adorn the walls in particular a portrait of Henri IV and the philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Throughout the room are statues of exceptional quality: Sainte Anne, Saint Sebastian and Sainte Catherine of Alexandra, Flemish altarpieces (1480 – 1530) and next to the mantelpiece, statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint John from a 16th century crucifixion piece. The tin and porcelain room is decked out with 18th century furniture, an Abubusson tapestry, ceramics and a Dutch chandelier. Inside the Salon de Luynes there is a richly painted ceiling and window frame decorated with gold leaf from the 17th century. The 15th century mantelpiece displays the coat of arms of the Castelnau and Calmont-d’Olt families. The Flemish tapestry of the late 17th century shows the goddess of hunting, Diana and the two giant sons of Neptune. Along the walls are Gothic church stalls and a small 16th century table carrying a liquor box. In the Louis XIV Salon, the ceilings, mantelpiece, painted wall panels and Versailles parquet flooring are remainders of the rich decoration of 1660 – 1670. The room also houses photos and objects that relate to Jean Mouliérat’s life, his success at the Opéra-Comique de Paris and his subsequent purchase of the castle. Flemish tapestries from 1605 depict stories of the goddess Diana. Along with 17th and early 18th century chairs and sofas, there is a unique turned-leg table in the Louis XIII style. The final part of the guided tour takes the visitor to the most lavish room of them all called the Oratory. It was originally the former guard’s chamber above the castle’s entrance gate, equipped with its own drawbridge. It served as Mouliérat’s dining room until 1930 and is filled with religious art. There is a Spanish 15th century altarpiece showing the crucifixion, a polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child from the Limousin region (13th century), another 15th century Virgin and Child statue from Bohemia and a 15th century stained glass window depicting the crucifixion acquired by Mouliérat from the Cathedral of Quimper in Brittany. On the opposite wall is another 15th century stained glass window of angels composing music.