#175 Château de Villandraut
Villandraut, Gironde, France
1305 - 1312
This is NOT an official Lego site

The imposing château at Villandraut, France has always been known as "the castle of Pope Clement", so it seems appropriate that this first paragraph should be dedicated to him.  Raymond Bertrand de Goth was born in 1264, the son of Bérand de Goth, Lord of Villandraut, and Ida de Blanquefort, presumably daughter of the lord of that town, also near Bordeaux.  While the couple likely had other children, the only one mentioned is their first son, also Bérand de Goth, who was born in 1250, 14 years before Raymond. It is important to note from the beginning that Bérand [the brother] was Archdeacon of Auch before he was made Archbishop of Lyon in 1289, and in 1297 [the year he died] he also became Primate of All Gaul and Duke of Lyon.  His younger brother, Raymond, studied arts and law at Toulouse, Orléans and Bologna, and was canon at the Cathedral of Saint André in Bordeaux, when his brother appointed him his Vicar-General [principal deputy]. When Bérand was elected Cardinal-Bishop of Albino [Italy] in 1294, Raymond became Bishop of St-Bertrand-de-Comminges, and soon was chaplain to Pope Boniface VIII, who, in 1297, appointed him Archbishop of Bordeaux.  Following the death of Pope Boniface IX in 1304, the nearly evenly split Italian and French cardinals elected Raymond pope in June 1305 and he was consecrated on November 14 of that year. Taking the name Clement V, the new French Pope headed the Roman Catholic Church until his death in 1314.  One of first official acts was to create nine new French cardinals, including his wealthy nephew, Gaillard de la Mothe, who immediately began construction of his own castle-residence in nearby Roquetaillade [see my #27 & 137!]  Nepotism run rampant, unfortunately.  Now on to the castle.
Immediately upon his election, Pope Clement V began construction of his new residence in hometown of Villandraut.  It is not stated who designed the château or when it was commissioned, but construction began in the same year as his election/consecration, and was mostly completed by 1312, due to Clement's newfound wealth and the increasing power of the Goth family.  The castle measures approximately 200' by 220' with its six towers each about 40' in diameter and 72' tall!  The castle rests in a dry moat which is 21' deep and 50' wide.  The three residential ranges, for the Pope, his entourage, and guests, completely cover the east, north and west walls of the castle, with a large central courtyard containing the well.  Construction was so rapid that the Pope was able to stay at the castle several times during this nine years as head of the Church.  The kitchens, stables and storage, as well as residences for staff and guards was on the ground floor level, with the clergy and nobility residing above.  The main reception and justice halls were located in the western wing.  The castle featured 21 fireplaces and 19 latrines.
Following Clement's death in 1314, the castle passed to the Viscount of Lomagne, another nephew of the Pope, but within about 10 years but inheritance and marriage disputes caused the castle to be sold, and there were many owners over the next several hundred years.  The castle was looted in 1572 and 1577, and in 1592 Holy Leaguers took possession during the French War of Religion.  The army brought cannon to rout the occupiers with the result that the southeast tower collapsed, never to be rebuilt. The Parliament of Bordeaux ordered the complete destruction of the castle, but fortunately King Henry IV vacated their decision. In 1600 the Lord of Lalanne purchased the castle and made many small improvements. In 1739 the Marquis de Pons retired and bought the castle, but then the château gradually deteriorated while under the ownership of the family of Sabran-Pontevès, having been made a historic monument in 1886.  The ruin was purchased by a Bordeaux real estate developer in 2007.  He is actively overseeing excavations and restoration.  Six of the photos were taken by me in September 2016.
The courtyard looking back
at the entrance
Turning to your left, the view
looking east
The north view, where the
entire face of the residential
range is gone.
And finally, the courtyard,
looking west
Plan of the entire castle at its peak Plan with the old chateau
layout still present
The plan of the first
(entrance) floor.


Photos of the Lego Model
under construction in October-November, 2021
On October 22, the castle is laid out The view from the north... By the next day , the plinths that support
the entire front of the castle are built!
With Oct. 24th pretty much spent working
on the webpage, we jump to the 25th.
Both the south and then north corner towers
are raised tall enough to include the ground
level arrowslits.
On October 26th, the courtyard is
laid out.  First 6 brick tall supports...
...followed by rows of 2x2x16 support
beams running north-south.
Atop these, running east-west, are
dozens more support beams, each
set to accommodate 6-wide plates.
The entrance passageway, beginning
with the modest gatehouse, is built -
allowing further work on the towers.
The next day is spent working both
on the gatehouse, and on the south
and west faces of the courtyard.
Here is the day's progress: four
of five arches on the south and
grand staircase, cellar  & stable
doors, etc. on the west.
On October 28 and 29, we
continue work on the outer
walls, towers and courtyard.
Here's the south [front].
And the west view... The castle from the north... And finally the east view. By November 1 we've moved up to the
first story where the clergy and nobles
will reside: hence larger windows!
By November 6, the gardeners have
planted four formal plots in the court-
yard, each facing a different residential
range, each lower right: facing south
the Keys of St. Peter.
Facing west: The Papal Cross Facing north: The Jerusalem or Crusader Cross And facing east: The Latin Cross.
All planted in preparation for Pope
Clement's first official visit...
By November 7 the castle
is almost ready to be roofed...
...and the towers have
risen to wall walk
And the next couple of days,
the roofing of the residential
ranges is underway...
...in continuous fashion from
east to north to west.
A view of the NE corner
on November 9
And the occupied
Roman Catholic cross
atop the north range.
The front of the model on
November 10...
...and on November 12, wall walks
and battlements completed.
By November 17, the roofing of
the six towers is well underway.
Suddenly a platoon of French
soldiers appears on the
wall walks...
...and atop the towers... ...as Pope Clement's entourage
arrives for the first official visit!


Details of the Roofing of a 32-stud Diameter Tower
on November 12, 2021
When you are 5 bricks short
of the desired height of your
tower, add four 2x6 bricks so
the 16 or so 4x5 half arches
atop them won't show.
Then connect the four rows
of half arches with 2+ layers
of 6-wide plates, which
creates a solid 'sub-floor'.
To each open area place a
#2401 10x10 wedge plate
of any color to fill much of
the roof gap areas.
Now build up your tower walls
to one brick below sub-floor
level., and fill all 4 ends with a
2x6, then a 1x6 and a 1x10 brick
topped with a 2x3 wedge plate.
Then begin to level your
sub-floor with 4 2x10 plates.
As you raise your walls to sub-
floor level, please note that the
four 2x6 bricks shown at the 45°
sides are actually to be a 1x6
plate, topped with a 2x6 plate,
finished with another 1x6 plate
and a 1x6 tile.
This will allow your plate and
wedge plate finished roof to
extend out atop the 1x6 tiles,
giving the roof a very filled-
in appearance...
...as shown in this picture! You are now ready to add
smooth or machicolated
battlements, a turret for easy
roof access, drains for rain
water, etc.
And voila, you have a tower
which will impede the fiercest
of potential interlopers.


Photos of the Lego Model
Completed November 18, 2021
The model was built using 25,920 Lego elements, plus the minifigures and their paraphernalia.
Here's the south view, street-side,
drawbridge lowered.
The view from the southwest. The western facade. The northwest corner of the
castle, and postern bridge.
The NE view. The model is too
large for me to photograph the
back wall straight on.
The eastern facade. And lastly, the view from the
A close-up of the gatehouse
The courtyard from the SE. The view from the SW. And the view looking south
toward the arched balcony and
the four towers that guard the
front of the castle.
A closer look at the papal
...with Pope Clement and
his brother, Cardinal
érand, conversing.
The deck with both
drawbridge and portcullis
Looking into the castle
through the main gate.
And finally. I am obviously
pleased with my hard-
working blacksmith.


Build Your Own
I originally designed this castle model in 1993.  It was to measure 126 x 137 studs (~0.64 Minifig Scale).
I redesigned the castle model in February 2008, still planning to use 3x3x6 corner panels for the six octagonal towers,
enlarging the model to 147 by 161 studs (~0.71 scale).  A plan and six detailed elevations and cross-sections were drawn.
But when I decided a couple months ago to actually construct the model, I decided to 'upgrade' the octagonal towers to
16-sided, hinged towers and the model size increased to 172 x 186 studs to align with the 32 stud diameter towers
(overall scale 0.80).  A plan was draw but no elevations or cross-sections.  I've relied solely on photographs for wall heights,
window sizes and shapes, etc., making the cannon damaged SE tower the mirror image of the SW tower.  Unfortunately
the plan is too large for me to copy, so I apologize for below.  The ensemble, including the Minifig-Pope, seem pleased.
Lego Plan
East Elevation
South Elevation
North Elevation
West Elevation

Other Château de Villandraut pages:

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney