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The past is omnipresent

The past is present in every corner of the château, as in the ancient masters' kitchen, with its enormous fireplace, where there was plenty of room to prepare a medieval feast.

300 years of history

De Maniban dynasty

The Seigneurs de Maniban were an important family in Gascony and had a major influence in South West France for almost two centuries.
The founding father, Jean de Maniban, took up office in Bordeaux as Master in Chambers of the Royal Courts, launching a parliamentary career which was followed by four generations of de Maniban high dignitaries.
In 1620, his son Thomas de Maniban became general legal counsel of the Toulouse parliament. It was Thomas who began to build the château, which was to be completed by his son Jean-Guy and distinguished grandson Joseph-Gaspard.
Joseph-Gaspard de Maniban was president of the Languedoc parliament for 40 years, from 1722 to 1762. Having married a Lamoignon, the sister of King Louis XV's chancellor, he acceded to the King's cabinet at Versailles.

The château

To date, no information has been found on the medieval fortified castle of Busca, which means 'copse' in the Gascon dialect. Historians presume it was located on the site of the present château. This large rocky outcrop has been occupied by man since prehistoric times, as suggested by several archaeological finds.
It is reasonable to imagine that Busca was a stronghold consisting of a large courtyard surrounded by walls and no doubt several moats, with a building in the style of 13th-14th century Gascon castles, known as 'salles fortes' or strongholds. A few traces remain of the small settlement that probably existed at the foot of the fortifications.
Only a few vestiges remain, such as 'la Ruelle', a narrow street that is now a corridor paved with rough stones, typical of the Middles Ages; or a characteristic medieval vault that may have been a passageway between the houses clustered inside the fort.
The new château was designed by Monsieur de Brie, a famous architect from Toulouse.

Key dates

Middle Ages - The whole region of Gascony belongs to the Earls of Armagnac.

1473 - Battle of Lectoure. Louis XI's troops defeat and kill the last Earl of Armagnac, confiscating his land. Later, the earldom is given to Marguerite of Angoulême, sister to the King of France, François I. She bequeathes it to her second husband, Henri II of Albret (King of Navarre), Henry IV's grand-father.

1476 - Jean de Pardailhan, Lord of Gondrin, buys 'half the square of Busca' from Bertrand de Castelbajac. 

1477 - Jean de Gassaignet becomes the owner of the land and then buys the stronghold, thereby becoming Lord of Busca.

1519 - His eponymous son carries out repair work on the stronghold and builds a smallholding.  

1533 - The château is sold to Nicolas du Boustie.

1587 - The Busca estate is transferred by marriage from the 'du Boustie' to the La Bassa family, known as 'de Maniban' since their ennoblement.

1649 - The current château's main structure is completed under the auspices of Thomas de Maniban. This date is engraved in the main entrance, the arched stone gateway known as the 'porte du Gendarme'.

1652 - Thomas de Maniban dies. His son Jean-Guy continues construction.

1681 - De Maniban acquires the title of marquis, as recorded on the pediment facing the garden, in the engraved coat of arms bearing the mark of both magistrate and marquis. The mortar board was the symbol used by parliament presidents.

1767 - Thomas de Maniban's grandson Joseph-Gaspard dies. His daughter and only child, Marquess Marie-Christine de Livry, inherits the property.

1780 - She sells the château to Earl Henri-Bernard de Faudoas, a cavalry captain.

1786 - Mme de Livry brings a suit against Earl de Faudoas for restitution of the property, owing to non-payment of the agreed sale price.

1789 - The French Revolution spares the château but Mme de Livry's legal battle is suspended. She finds refuge in England during the Revolution.

1798 - Mme de Livry returns from England and regains ownership of her property.

1803 - The Marquess sells the property to Dr Rizon, a doctor from the town of Condom and an ancestor of the present owners, six generations on.

1810 - A fire all but destroys the south east wing housing the Orangery and Jeu de Paume, the royal-tennis court.

1812 - Dr Rizon's daughter marries a Bazin, giving rise to a long line of magistrates; these are the great-grandparents of the current owners of the property, the Ferron-Palthey family.

Toulouse parliament


In the 17th century, the Toulouse parliament was the second most important seat of government in France. Members attended parliament wearing special robes, the colour and shape of which depended on their rank. This was an influential new aristocracy, known as the Nobility of the Robe, in contrast to the Nobility of the Sword of previous centuries. The position of general legal counsel not only bestowed prestige but also placed key powers in the hands of a single man.

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