WE NEED YOUR HELP, Great oaks from little acorns grow!
The Nontron castle is highly damaged, it will closed at the end of September 2020 for one year and a half of works in order to welcome arts and crafts professionals as well as our visitors in (very) good conditions.
Make a donation for the Nontron castle restoration and the development of the Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts!
Supporting the Nontron castle renovation means to allow the conservation and the transmission of an Historical Monument in the heart of the territory,
but this also means to participate to the economic and cultural development of arts and crafts!
This project will convert the Nontron Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts into a welcoming, living and multipurpose place for everyone.

To make a donation:

  • Click on the link of the website of the Heritage Foundation, here
  • Or download and print the subscription warrant by clicking on the button which is on the left.
Architecture and History

Witness of the Nontron history, located in the heart of the city and head office of the Nontron Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts activities, the Nontron castle participates with the Arts Gardens and the building which circle the Bandiat valley to a remarkable landscape whole.
This is a vast rectangular mansion of the 18th century with floors and an attic, covered with slates and located on arched rooms from the 8th century. The frontages present a light prominent central section limited by gigantic pilasters with bosses and crowned by a triangular pediment adorned in the middle by the letter “M” which come from the name Mazerat. The castle counts more than 50 high rounded windows with transoms and frames. The Mansard roof, in slates, is opened alternatively with big rectangular skylights and bull’s-eyes. The covering in terrace of the South annex is in the Italian-style with balustrades.
The main building has preserved its great stairs and its primitive distribution of adjoining reception rooms highly enlighten on the gardens and the valley. It presents parquets from the 18th century in the Versailles-style and ladder-shaped. From the fortified house-castle of the Peytavis of the 8th century, remain the arched rooms and the base of the round tower, visible at the North extremity of the frontage which is on the gardens side. The woodwork of the old library from the 18th century as well as the frontages are all enrolled in the Supplementary Inventory of the Historical Monuments.

The first castle was built during the 8th century. It was a fortified house which belonged to a whole of fortifications. The land belonged to the Peytavis fiefdom. On October 5th 1656, the castle was sold to Philibert-Hélie de Pompadour, Laurière marquis and Nontron baron. This is how the Peytavis fiefdom and the Nontron seigneury were reunited. In 1672 and in 1713, two fires destroyed a great part of the castle.
On December 18th 1751, the castle was sold to Jean-Charles de Lavie, advisor of the king and president of the Bordeaux Parliament in a notable state of desolation. Between April 18th 1768 and January 12th 1772, he ordered to build the modern castle on the basement of the first one. On October 7th 1787, the last heir of the de Lavie family sold the castle to Jean-Baptiste-Michel de Mazerat, lawyer in court, seneschal judge of the city and the Nontron barony who already lived in the castle.
In 1878, a fire led to the reconstruction of the castle as we can see it today. The higher parts were rebuilt. The old roof with tile panels has been replaced by the current Mansard attic covered with slates. On February 4th 1884, the only heir of the Sclafert-Lagorsse family married a member of the family De Laparre de Saint-Sernin who then would become mayor of Nontron.
On August 16th 1944, the castle has obtained the title of “Site d’intérêt pittoresque”. The « Musée du jouet et de la poupée » (Museum of toys and dolls) opened to the public in 1980 by the new owner Marie-Camille de Monneron. The museum closed its doors in 2003. The castle has become property of the Nontron city in 1984. On November 9th 1984, the frontages as well as the library and its woodwork were enrolled in the Supplementary Inventory of the Historical Monuments.
The Nontron Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts moved in the castle in 2009. Since then, he occupies the ground floor of the castle.

Nature of the work

The Nontron castle is today seriously damaged; its deterioration is increasing exponentially and could quickly lead to its ruination.
It represents a danger for the public (1500 visitors per year and near 1300 pupils), as much for its intern state (fragility of the floor, instability of the windows and frames…) as for its exteriors (masonry, unstable cornices, damaged surroundings…). It is also synonym of energy abyss as it is very antiquated.
Only the ground floor is currently exploited and opened for visit. The Nontron Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts occupies this floor with arts and crafts exhibitions, the Arts and Crafts Shop and the Blade and Metal Space.
The works would allow reuniting in one and only placing the different activities of the association while occupying the building in its whole:
– Ground floor: Enlarging the exhibition rooms and the Arts and Crafts Shop; improving the public reception with cloakrooms and sanitary facilities adapted.
– First floor: 220m² of supplementary exhibition rooms dedicated to design, arts and crafts, the Metal and Blade Space (the cutlery industry), the partners, a video room, storehouses and sanitary facilities.
– The attic: real storehouses, offices, a meeting room.
– Level -1: the workshops in order to receive the activities with pupils, the classes and workshops provided by arts and crafts professionals, the boiler room and sanitary facilities.

The aim of the place

The Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts is an association supported by the Community of Communes. It supports the economic and cultural development of arts and crafts. It organizes exhibitions, events, meetings, demonstrations, classes, internships… These events allow raising awareness among every public about arts and crafts and design. It welcomes nearly 1500 visitors per year and more than 70 classes. Its actions affect more than 150 arts and crafts professionals every year.
The project of reconfiguration of the Nontron castle and the one of the Pole development will allow making the most of the Pole in order to increase the attractiveness of the territory.

  • Providing a key and emblematic center for arts and crafts job in the heart of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in order to enhance the excellence of the knowhow as well as the creativity.
  • Converting the castle in a welcoming, living and multipurpose place. It needs to belong to everyone and its surface allows making different types of activities coexist. The new adjustments will allow receiving different public in ideal conditions.
  • Fixing a big picture, installing on a same site activities which are, for the moment, in 3 different sites in the city: exhibitions, training workshops, meetings/trainings, designers’ residences, Arts and Crafts Shop, the Blade and Metal Space and storehouses.
  • Favoring the arts and crafts professionals’ settlement on the territory by reinforcing its attractiveness.

The specificity of this territory which is essentially rural requires an accompanying at the closest of the arts and crafts professionals. The Pole will be a real place of resources and will be able to reorient them towards the different partners. It also works as an attracting pole for arts and crafts.

  • Reinforcing the promotion actions of the arts and crafts professionals.
  • Converting the castle into a place entirely dedicated to the arts and crafts and the culture/ Real place of diffusion, education, research and creation.

The Pole is developing partnerships in order to execute research and workshops programs for arts and crafts and design students.

  • Accommodating on a same site the whole Arts and Crafts Pole and the events of the Community of Communes in order to propose a coherent and reinforced cultural offer and to increase the help and support toward the arts and crafts associations of the territory (Potter show of Bussière-Badil, the weavers market of Varaignes, iron and Forges in Etouars etc.).
  • Giving back the castle to the territory inhabitants, converting it into the pillar of the urbanistic reinvestment and the reinstatement of the city center.

N.B. : The Experimental Pole of Arts and Crafts works with numerous cultural and economic partners : the Community of Communes, the city, the Dordogne department, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the Pays Périgord Vert, The Regional Natural Park Périgord-Limousin, Ateliers d’Art de France, the Dordogne Chamber of Trade, the arts and crafts associations, Ville et Métiers d’Art, the Cultural Agency of the Dordogne-Perigord department, Astre –network of the Modern art actors in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the Dordogne board of education, the departmental Committee of Tourism…

Our partners

The Community of Communes of the Périgord Nontronnais
The city of Nontron
The state: DRAC -DETR
The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region
The Dordogne Departmental Council
Pays Périgord Vert – Leader
The Heritage Foundation