For 700 years, the Château du Fréchou has commanded its naturally defensive site with panoramic views over the Gascon countryside. At the end of the 13th century, it was held jointly by the Cazenoves and the Noalhans. The Comte d’Armagnac and Amanieu d’Albret besieged and captured Fréchou in 1322, in a feudal dispute involving King Edward II of England, Duke of Aquitaine. Having regained possession of the Château, the Noalhans owned it until 1536, when it became the property of the Montpezat family by marriage. In the 1560s, the Château was remodelled by François de Montpezat, Baron de Laugnac and Governor of the Agenais. To him we owe the Renaissance tower and its staircase, as well as the imposing Entrance Gatehouse.

His son and heir, François de Laugnac, sought his fortune at Court at the age of 18. Handsome and charming, he rapidly won King Henri III’s favours and was made Captain of his personal guard, the “Forty-Five”. He thus took the lead in the plot instigated by the King against the Duc de Guise, the leader of the powerful Catholic League financed by Spain. The Duke had royal pretentions, as, thanks to his aunt Marie de Guise, he was first cousin to Mary Queen of Scots (also Queen of France through her marriage with the short-lived François II). On the 23rd of December 1588, François de Laugnac and his men ambushed the Duke at the Château de Blois.

The Duke was murdered and in the turmoil that followed, François fell out of favour with the King. His ambitions shattered, François had to reluctantly withdraw to the Château du Fréchou. Two years later, François was in turn killed by Catholic League soldiers seeking revenge. His brief life was over at the age of just 25, but François nonetheless left an indelible mark on French history by enabling the accession of Henri IV, the famous “Vert Galant”.

A long period of gradual decay and neglect began in the early 17th century as the fortunes of the Château ebbed. At the beginning of the 18th century, Fréchou was inherited by the Monestays, marquis de Chazeron. The Château survived the Revolution, but was sold in 1810. Having become a farm in the 19th century, it became increasingly dilapidated. Partially ruined, it was saved from the 1970s onwards by Michel and Aline Taulet, who undertook its restoration. They left the Château in 2015.