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Great historical figures have a link with our territory and with the history of France.

If, at different times, Aliénor d'Aquitaine, Jean sans Terre or even Bertrand Du Guesclin remind us of Aquitaine's close links with England, others such as Michel de Montaigne, Marshal de Turenne or Pierre Loti draw on their family roots in these lands.
Léo Drouyn, archaeologist and designer from Gironde, is also passionate about our territory, of which he will draw and study a number of monuments. Finally, the quest for the past attracted Sir Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who by bike set off from Castillon-la-Bataille in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart (son of Eleanor of Aquitaine).
Find in this page the portraits of our Great Men. They invite you to discover our municipalities and the women and men who, from yesterday to today, bring them to life.
The heart of our villages beats in unison with the passing of life!

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Duchess of Aquitaine with great ambitions, she became Queen of France in 1137 by marrying the one who would become Louis VII. In 1152, Louis VII repudiates her and she remarries with the Duke of Normandy Henri Plantagenêt, future Henri II of England. This is how she becomes Queen of England. All her life, she occupies a central place in the relations between the kingdoms of France and England and will endeavor to accompany her children to strategic positions. Thus, his son Richard, raised in Guyenne, will become Richard the Lionheart King of England. When Richard dies, she will work for her youngest son Jean Sans Terre to succeed her on the throne of England.

John Landless

John of England

5th and last son of Henry II king of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and having received no fiefdom in appanage unlike his brothers, he inherits this characteristic nickname. However, he became Duke of Normandy, Guyenne then King of England on the death of his brother Richard the Lionheart. It was then that he encouraged the construction of strongholds such as the Rauzan castle, on its rocky promontory.

Bertrand du Guesclin

Grand Chevalier and Constable of France, his great enterprise was to expel the English during the Hundred Years War. He did not proceed through major military campaigns but preferred to methodically reconquer entire provinces, besieging castle after castle. Thus, in Guyenne, he launched an offensive with the Duke of Anjou. This allows Castillon to be taken back from the English in 1374 and the Rauzan castle in 1377. He distinguished himself with courage and bravery in many battles.

Michel de Montaigne

Portrait of Michel de Montaigne

He presents himself as a writer, intellectual, philosopher and humanist. He followed a course within the magistracy of Guyenne which led him to the Parliament of Bordeaux in 1556. He will be adviser there for 13 years.
Coming from a family of Bordeaux merchants, the Eyquems, his great-grandfather acquired the domain of Montaigne in 1477 (birthplace of Michel de Montaigne in 1533).
Now rich through the inheritance of the domain and the title of lord of Montaigne, he abandoned his position as magistrate to devote himself to writing. However, he remained linked to political life in Aquitaine and twice became mayor of Bordeaux.
It's in the tour that he began the "Essays" in 1572. They deal with many subjects while mixing his own life, his soul and his reflection as a man. The whole is "a jumble where the important and trivial things merge together as if at pleasure, the quickly outdated sides and the eternal", a unique book.
It is in his castle in 1592 that he takes his last breath. According to legend, his heart would have been kept in the chapel of the charming village which borders his domain.

Marshal de Turenne

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne

Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne is his real name. He is known to be one of the greatest knights of Kings Louis XIII and then Louis XIV. His exploits are such that he was appointed Marshal of France in 1643. Viscount of Turenne, he also holds the title of viscount of Castillon from his father who bought the county of Castillon. From a Protestant family, he converted to Catholicism and donated a bequest of 20 pounds to the town of Castillon, in order to help poor Protestants who would also convert.
But 10 years after his death, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and prohibited Protestantism.
The object of the bequest therefore no longer exists, and the city decides to build a hospital and a église with the sum.
First buried in the Basilica of Saint-Denis alongside the Kings of France, Napoleon I would then have his ashes transferred to the Invalides, necropolis of the military glories of France.

Francois Joseph Leo Drouyn

He is a scientist, coupled with an artist, who undertook to save in the collective memory some of the last traces of medieval architecture. In 1842, he became a draftsman for the Commission des Monuments Historiques de Gironde, then he joined the French Archaeological Society and was a member of the Académie des Sciences Belles Lettres et Arts de Bordeaux. Passionate about our territory, he spent a lot of time redesigning its monuments, especially the Rauzan castle and Romanesque churches or the fortified houses of Pujols, Saint-Jean-de-Blaignac, Saint-Vincent-de-Pertignas, Civrac-sur-Dordogne, Juillac and Bossugan. Many drawings and engravings will emerge. It also leaves many and beautiful drawings of trees and landscapes drawn in nature.

Pierre Loti

Pierre Loti as an academician

His name is Julien Viaud but he is best known under the name of Pierre Loti. Writer and officer in the French navy, most of his novels find their inspiration through his many travels.
His family insisting on getting married, He chooses a rich woman, noble, Protestant and smaller than himself. The chosen one, originally from Flaujagues, was called Blanche Franc de Ferrière, a name still present in the region, and the marriage was celebrated on October 21, 1886. However, he quickly felt tired. To write again, he must rediscover the amorous and poetic emotion of his first escapades. Too often absent and too sensitive to feminine charms during his travels, Blanche will leave him after fifteen years together.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence in British Army uniform (1918)

His name is Thomas Edward Lawrence and he was born in Wales. He became passionate about medieval times at a very young age and decided to take a bike tour of France in search of the past. Thus, he goes to Castillon-la-Bataille where he is interested in the Hundred Years War. He then joined the Dordogne passing through Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne where he fell in love with Michel de Montaigne. He will celebrate his 20 years in Chalus where Richard III, known as the Lionheart died in 1199. The second part of his life is better known, through his engagement with the Arab troops who lead a guerrilla war against the troops of the Ottoman Empire in 1916 He will make these populations aware of their strength while remaining at the service of British interests.

Today, a cycle route commemorates this route of Thomas Edward Lawrence between Castillon-la-Bataille and Châlus. To discover the first stage, between Castillon la Bataille and Mussidan, click here.