From my bedroom window, I squint my eyes and take a leap into history. Castle Durban Corbiéres appears in the 11th century with the Lords of Durban. The powerful family of Durban had Leucate and Fabrezan had land and manorial rights to Fontjoncouse and Villeséque in the twelfth century.
The château was built on Roman remains in the eleventh century for the lords of Durban and was first recorded in a document of 1018. In the twelfth century, the powerful Durban family owned Leucate, Fabrezan as well as the land rights over Fontjoncouse and Villesèque. The lords were vassals of the viscounts of Narbonne. The château was in the hands of Bernard de Durban in the twelfth century and in 1229, Guillaume de Durban swore his allegiance to the king this retaining the lands.
In the sixteenth century, the north and west walls were pierced and decorated with magnificent windows with marble columns and sculpted lintels influenced by Renaissance architecture. Much of what remained was restored in 1972.
The last direct descendant of the Durbans to own the château was Joseph de Glèon the Baron of Durban. He died at the age of 82 without providing heirs. The last relative to inherit the castle sold it to Paul Comes in 1873. Monsieur Combes intended the stone for building material and had destroyed large parts of the structure by the end of the nineteenth century. The property was abandoned only to be occupied by a Spanish soldier. It later became public property and continued to be used as a source of stone (building material).
All that remains of the chateau is the north face of the main building, a round staircase and a square tower. Unfortunately, without restoration, it continues to crumble and there are warnings to keep tourists away. It is now owned by the town of Durban-Corbiéres and reclaimed by the association’s Committee for the Protection of Old Durban.
After four years living beneath this amazing bit of history, I still marvel at its feet. The view at night is spectacular. On 14 Juillet, La Fête Nationale, the Pompieres (fire-fighters) launch fireworks so that they come shooting from the château. It can take your breath away!