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« Clovis King of Franks »

Francs has been a crossing point since the most ancient times. An important roman road linking Poitiers to the Pyrenees passed through Francs. It is likely that the army of Clovis took this road to go the conquest of Aquitaine after their victory of Vouillé (507) over the Visigoths. A Frankish garrison then settled on this strategic hill. It was called “Ad Francos” (the Franks’ place) from which derives the name of the village. Only village in France to bear the name of Francs, we are here in the midst of history.


« A millenary name »

In 2008 Viviane and André Vossen, then owners of the castle of Francs which they had saved from ruin, made the decision to reinstate the original name « Ad Francos ». This resurrection came after more than one thousand years since the first written mention of the toponym. The name appears in a book dating back to the year 1004 with a record of the stay of Saint Abbon at Ad Francos. The presence at the castle of this high ranking figure, a religious dignitary, counsellor to the king of France, consecrated first Abbot of the Gaules by Pope Gregory V, is an indication of the importance of Ad Francos during those times.

Sarcophages Mérovégien taillés dans la roche au pied de l’ancienne église


« Les Ségur,
the first Lords of Francs »

Among all the successive great families who held the castle of Francs, the first known belonged to the Ségur, a renowned house of Guyenne. They initiated the fortification of the castle around the 12th century. In the 14th century, their descendants differentiated themselves by adding to their patronym the name of the place, giving birth to the “Ségur des Francs”.


« Flamboyant Gothic »

The Isle de Lalande also left their mark. We are beholden to them for the appearance of the Flamboyant Gothic style, a monumental fireplace and the coat of arms engraved on the facade of the castle. This coat of arms now adorns the bottles of wine of Château Ad Francos.


« Jean De Gaufreteau,
the rebirth of the castle »

In 1607, Jean de Gaufreteau, lord of Francs, initiated extensive works to re-erect the fortifications impaired by four centuries of unceasing warfare. He restructured the castle by adding a magnificent arcaded gallery linking the preexisting wings. The gallery is accessible through an imposing drawbridge. He gave to the building its current pentagonal shape easily identifiable from above. He commanded the construction of the village church outside the precinct of the castle.


« The Challons,
last Lords of Francs »

Hardouin de Chalon, bishop of Lescar, heir to his uncle Hardouin de Gaufreteau, last of the name, was also a great builder. He brought to the building two new wings extending from each side of the south facade, thus creating the magnificent cour d’honneur. Caught in the storm of the Revolution, the Chalon were the last lords of Francs.

«Château de Francs » Leo Drouyn’s etchings made in 1863

« Ad Aeternam »

Generation after generation, the women and men of Francs have dedicated themselves to continuing the work of their predecessors, giving to the castle its distinctive architecture, fraught with traces of history and reflecting the genius of its builders who have enriched it with the styles of their times.

They have bequeathed to posterity a unique castle, displaying several very rare architectural features such as the extraordinary remains of a 12th century church, a magnificent spiral stairwell and a large fireplace in the Flamboyant Gothic style.


« The Vossen’s magnum opus »

Viviane and André Vossen, with the help of their children
Joan Vossen and Stéphane Lebrun, an architect and a designer, undertook to save the castle of Francs from ruin and to give it new life under its original name: Château Ad Francos. Their dedication to this pharaonic and visionary task makes it now possible to say that the castle has never been so beautiful.


« Beyond borders »

Qiong Er and Guillaume Brochard, the new owners of the place, follow in the steps of their illustrious predecessors, inspired by the same passion and the same love for this place both out of time and out of the ordinary. Their ambition is to tap into their creative resources so that the jewel Ad Francos can shine beyond borders together with its unique nectars, the fruit of centuries of experience in the art of wine making

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