Nestled in the Borne valley in the heart of the village from which it bears its name, the Fortress of Saint Vidal is one of the best preserved buildings in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. An architectural jewel of the Haute-Loire, the Château de Saint Vidal has been listed as a Historic Monument since 1958. Witness to the history of France, it is a reference in military architecture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
It was in the 16th century that the fame of Saint Vidal will be greatest thanks to Baron Antoine II of the Tower of Saint Vidal. Governor of Velay and Gévaudan as well as grand master of the artillery of France, Antoine is at the head of the Catholic League in Velay. It protects the region and its inhabitants from numerous Protestant insurrections, its Fortress plays the role of protector.
He was killed on January 25, 1591 on the Estroulhas bridge in Espaly, not far from Puy en Velay, during a duel against his godson.
In July of the same year, King Henri IV ordered the destruction of the Fortress of Saint Vidal to destroy the memory of the Baron. Despite 304 cannon shots fired at the stone monster, the Fortress remains impregnable, the memory of the Saint Vidal family is saved. The Rochefort d’Ally family, successor to Antoine II, kept the building until the end of the 18th century.
After the Revolution, which caused no damage to the building, the owners succeeded each other over the centuries. The fortress is maintained, thus preserved from the ravages of time.
Closed to visitors for many years, Vianney d’Alançon bought the fortress in 2016 to revive it to the general public. In the same year, he created the association for the promotion of Velay, Auvergne and Gévaudan, which takes charge of the management of the site. An ambitious project is then launched to make speak these old stones which have so much to tell us.
A major restoration project was launched between 2017 and 2018 in order to offer the public a real immersion in time and history for a unique and captivating journey along three axes: Memory of a people, the Impregnable Fortress and the Gardens.