The small "Seigneurie de Mandailles" dates back to the XIth century. Several "seigneurs" are mentionned in old documents. Among them : Guillaume de Mandailles and his wife Navirens in 1264, Pierre Guillaume in 1286, Noble Marc du Jou in 1472, Baron Jean Louis de Pagès in 1779...
The castle and the small village were located on a rocky crest surrounded by a wall. A keep was erected in the middle : it was designed to store food and to protect against assailants. You can still see it (or part of it). It overlooked a communal oven and a churchyard which have now disappeared ( they still existed on the IXXth century land registry).
The original "castle" didn't mean a luxury house in the middle of a park but a keep with fortified walls where social life was organized according to the rules of the feudal system. Mandailles was a small "seigneurie" and by no means a place of leisure !!
In those difficult times, the size of the castle displayed the landlord's rank in the distance.The powerful "Seigneurs de Calmont" were the local overlords. You can still see the ruins of their big castle overlooking the neighbouring city of Espalion.
The "Seigneurs de Mandailles" were their small vassal lords.
The original small community was part of the earliest castle and gradually left the premises in the late middle ages and the castle slowly decayed. The village was rebuilt just up the hill, with its well preserved steeply sloping street ("Lou calat" in the local language). The seigneurial residence gradually lost its defensive role and took a residential function. The small castle was renovated in the XVIIth century for the building was over five hundred years old ! Later, during the French Revolution, the castle became a common property and was fragmented.Historical documents tell us it was in a pitiful state at that time.Luckily it was alloted to Baron Jean Louis de Pagès de Pourcairès et de Beaufort who belonged to an old local noble family dating back to the XIIth century. He didn't have the heart to break it down and left it in a poor state.
Fortunately, Charles Dufoort, a lover of old stones, bought it in 1970 and spent years restoring it. He started the work with the approval of the French Architectural of Review Board. The best local craftsmen were called for help. Huge fireplaces, stone spiral staircase, massive beams and timbers, all make you think of days gone by.
History is still being written at Mandailles that has been keeping watch over the valley for nearly ... 1000 years !!