A short guide to the architecture
The entrance lodge was once the only way out of the castle, well guarded by two towers, an internal moat, two drawbridges (one for the coachman and one for pedestrians) whose openings you will be able to see above the doors. Of the fortress, only the south wing and the outer enclosure remain (the identical north wing was destroyed during the French Revolution and the fire of the 19th century). This south wing consists of four towers covered in slates and large openings with windows called "mullions." The gateway to the inner courtyard had a drawbridge and an interior moat like the entrance lodge. Above this edifice is a circular path with machicolations which allowed archers to shoot and projectiles to be thrown at the enemy. The slit windows were also built for archery or crossbows.
Several watchtowers surround the castle. Of the ten original towers, only nine remain. The tenth, on the north side, was destroyed under Napoleon I in order to build the orangerie rotunda. The last defensive curtain is comprised of deep dry moats that encircle the castle.
Stones have been embedded in the walls of the castle, two ancient sculpted heads above the south entrance of the stables. The south wing had no decoration at the time of building, and all the beautiful carved stones encrusted in the facade of the castle come from the north wing, where the nobles lived.
The well and the mausoleum
The well you are going to see was built with limestone remains of the castle and the chapel, dating from 1514. The flamboyant Gothic letters represent Geoffroy Hélie de Pompadour. The coats of arms of the Lastours and Pompadours, are symbolised by three towers (Guy de Lastours built the first castle of Pompadour). The surface of the water is at twenty metres down, but the well is very much deeper.
Probably built with the stones from the north wing of the castle, which was destroyed during the Revolution, the mausoleum is also in the flamboyant Gothic style. You will find the coats of arms of the Lastours and the Pompadours, with the three towers, winged lions, griffins and a gargoyle.
Concerning the architecture of the stables, a few elements were added at the end of the 19th century, such as dormers, watchtowers and windows with crossed mullions, testimony to the expansion of the stud farm at that time. On the ground floor are the stables, with the upper floor serving as a hay loft, With cereal crops stored in the attic. The stables could accommodate a dozen horses separated in individual stalls. Six very spacious boxes were added by Mr. Baratoux, the manager of the stud in the 1990's.
Today, these stables house horses spending time here during competitions. They are regularly occupied during the high season.
Take the time to look at the beautiful barrel vault, the thick of the walls and the cobblestones that make the stables such an architectural delight.
The horse-drawn carriages of the National Stud represent a collection unique in France. The art of harnessing goes back to the very creation of the institution. Among the first carriages of the farm, the oldest, no other models remain in existence. Those that are currently preserved date from the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. They are between 80 and 150 years old and are today considered part of the national heritage. Over three hundred carriages are housed in the different National Stud establishments, and Pompadour is home to some prime examples such as the tilbury, the "pram," the great Landau, the phaeton and the "barrel." Explanations on these different horse-drawn carriages and their formal uses will be given to you during your visit.