Chateau du Sailhant: Castle Made of Lava Rocks

While France is famous for its majestic medieval castles and has nearly 50,000 of them, Chateau du Sailhant still manages to stand out. The unique aspect of Chateau du Sailhant is that it was made out of ancient solid lava rocks in the region nearly a thousand years ago.

Chateau du Sailhant exterior walls

Chateau du Sailhant is located in the Auvergne region of France. There are 80 dormant volcanoes in Auvergne and only 50 kilometers under its green slopes, there is lava. The region found itself on the Geological Wonders list of UNESCO and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France.

the castle back

Moreover, for centuries, the locals have been turning the solid lava into usable rocks. The most impressive result of this tradition is arguably the Sailhant Castle. The castle was made out of these ancient lava rocks and its roof was made out of the slabs in the region as well.

Chateau du Sailhant and the village under

While the castle’s ingredient component is certain, there are conflicting views on its construction date. Some sources say that the castle only started as a defensive tower in the 9th century and developed afterward. Many noble French families occupied the castle and they all made some changes to the state of the castle they found it in.

the castle interior
Secrets d’Histoire

Chateau du Saillant saw its fair share of conflict as well. As a defensive fort, the castle was a battleground in both the Hundred Years War and the French Wars of Religion.

Chateau du Sailhant garden

Although the castle survived these wars, it could not survive negligence. As centuries passed, the castle’s state deteroiated and it soon fell into despair. Some owners demolished certain parts of the castle disfiguring its form even further.

the castle upper level

While the owner in the 19th century tried to get the castle back to its former state, he could not manage it. It seemed like this medieval castle, a living heritage, would be lost to time. However, all changed when Joseph Pell Lombardi bought the Chateau du Sailhant from its previous owner. Lombardi is a famous architect from New York who specializes in restorative architecture.

Chateau du Sailhant and the forest nearby
Castles and Palaces

Lombardi fell in love with the castle as soon as he saw it and started making plans to buy it. Once he acquired the castle, renovations began immediately. During the renovations, Lombardi payed close attention to the preserving of the original form and worked diligently to protect the authenticity of the castle. In the end, he succeeded as today the castle is a popular location among tourists and open for visits.

the castle and the fenced ground