Château d’Olhain: Castle in the Middle of a Lake

The Château d’Olhain is a castle located in France. It dates back to the 13th century. The castle is located in the middle of a lake that reflects its towers and walls. It was a major stronghold for the Artois region in medieval times and was a testimony to the influence of the Olhain family, one of the oldest families in Artois.

Château d'Olhain

The first version of Château d’Olhain was built with wood but it was destroyed during the 100 Years War. The present structure, built with sandstone and bricks, is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain in the 15th century.

The castle was built on oak stilts. It consists of two separate parts: the courtyard and the main house. Aside from being a common area, the courtyard was also used as a small farm to keep the animals and the food stocks. There is a bridge that connects the courtyard with the main house. Over the centuries the defensive qualities of the castle were lessened to make it more suitable as a permanent residence.


After Alix Nielles’ marriage to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France ( a position in the King’s Household) to the King himself, the castle passed to this family and they kept it for more than 450 years. After Charles Quint confiscated the castle, it suffered considerably during the wars that ravaged Artois. It was besieged in 1641 by the French, partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and taken by the Dutch in 1710. The castle was restored in 1830 but abandoned after 1870.


There is evidence that one of the castle’s occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore D’Artagnan, the person who inspired Alexandre Dumas to create his character D’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers.

During World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned by French troops, then Canaidan and British soldiers. It is now privately owned and under restoration, but open for visitation.

Château d'Olhain
Château d'Olhain
Château d'Olhain