Chateau de Terride in Mirepoix

When preparing this post, I researched Chateau de Terride in Mirepoix with duck duck go. I realised that quite a few chateaux in the south-west of France bear that name. It’s a shame, because this particular château is in no way like all the others I have found on the Internet.

Chateau de Terride in Mirepoix

Chateau de Terride is quite derelict. As I researched its history, I discovered that French TV celebrity Stephane Bern had launched an initiative with the Ministry of Culture. The aim is to rehabilitate a few remarkable buildings. This one being on the list. And rightfully so.

The upper floor of the chapel has already partially collapsed. The vault with the 13th-century rinceaux is exposed to the weather and the whole structure is gradually weakening. The lower floor could also see its arches weakened and the brick walls crack. The owners are mobilising to undertake major works and improvements in order to continue to enhance this precious heritage. Thus they welcome visitors and are working on the consolidation of some elements, which are unfortunately in a state of peril.
Fondation du Patrimoine

MidSummer Winter Journey

As we made our way to the Chateau de Terride on that hot August 2022 evening for an overnight performance of Schubert’s masterpiece Winterreise, I was absolutely gobsmacked by the sheer beauty of this place. Possibly, the fact that it is a little derelict makes it even more beautiful or even incredibly romantic.

A chateau that could have been painted by Claude as in the picture below.

Chateau de Terride
An enchanted landscape (Die verzauberte Landschaft) by Claude Gellée aka Le Lorrain or Claude in England

Parts of the chateau are in fact a castle. The main tower on the right-hand side of the photo below is from the 12th century. It was altered in the 15th century and again later.

Chateau de Terride
Getting ready for an amazing performance of Winterreise. The character on the right-hand side crouched on the ground is a draughtsman. He kept all his kit in an incredible number of plastic carrier bags. He sketched the musicians for the entire evening. After 9 PM the sun set and he kept drawing in the dark, I would very much like to see the outcome of his nocturnal work.
Chateau de Terride
The delicate and ornate doorframe of the “old tower” (tour vieille)

I cannot think of a more beautiful place for listening to Winterreise, my favourite suite of “Lieder” (songs) by Schubert. You can listen to Franco-Irish bass-baritone singer Edwin Crossley Mercer who is the co-owner of Chateau de Terride with his partner, and the organiser of the classical music festival Catel Artes of Mirepoix. [Bach performance by Crossley Mercer per below “Ich habe genug” – I have enough – cantata Bwv 82]

A very unusual and beautiful recording since Schubert composed these Lieder for a tenor. Schubert himself did transpose many of his works for other voices. Yet there are few versions of the Winterreise in this register.

Chateau de Terride
The paintings are by Edwin’s mother, Claudine Franck – click to listen on Qobuz

Chateau de Terride in Mirepoix

Chateau de Terride
The view from Chateau de Terride is astounding. The Pyrenees are in the background. Our house is somewhere in the mountains, South-West of Mirepoix (on the right handsome of that picture).
Mirepoix from the Chateau during the intermission
Yann Gourvennec
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