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Chateau Le Bosc


The original Château du Bosc was built in 1180 with the aim of protecting the Valley of the Viaur against intruders. In the 15th century it was partially destroyed and rebuilt into a feudal fortress. Early 19th century, the castle has been modernized by the grandmother of the painter Toulouse Lautrec into a richly furnished castle. Afterwards it has always been owned by the family of the painter.

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was born on the estate of his noble family in Albi (Tarn). Henri's mother is a cousin of her husband. Her ancestral home dating from the 12th century. She gave her husband an impressive dowry. In the 19th century the French nobility often married within the family, in order to prevent distribution of heritage.

All the conditions to grow into a wealthy, sophisticated French aristocrat seem to be present, were it not, that Henri is physically abnormal. His bone structure is fragile, it is small and hunchbacked, this deformity is due to inbreeding caused by intermarriage within his family.

The count is ashamed of his deformed, dwarfish son and refuses to show him. Moreover, he has separated from Adele, as Henri was less than four years old.

In 1872 the mother of eight-year-old Henri settles in Paris where he goes to the Lycée. He is among the best students. In the margins of his languages notebooks he sketches riders, horses, knights and carriages. At that time, because of his small stature, he was called 'P'tit bonhomme’.

But his health is decreasing Paris, so they decided to move to the family castel Château du Bosc. There the young Henri grows up under the guidance of teachers who take up residence in the castle.

In 1878, at age fourteen, Henri felt off a horse, with a lifetime lameness as result. Always and everywhere he is drawing, especially horses. Later, the family accepts that Henri is destined for a career as a painter and he is taught by artists from Toulouse and its surroundings. He meets later luminaries such as Victor Hugo, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Francisco Goya and Diego Velasquez.

In 1884, Henri decides to leave for Paris and he took up residence in Montmartre, at the other side of the Moulin Rouge. There he becomes the artist we know from his extensive oeuvre.

MORE INFORMATION about the painter: look at ALBI

CHATEAU LE BOSC offers a tour in the salons and bedrooms, with memories of Lautrec as a child. There is a small collection of drawings from his childhood that shows his artistic talent. You’re often guided by a cousin of the painter. Most of his drawings and paintings can be seen in the beautiful museum with his name in Albi.

Distance : Distance off Clapas 18 km
Travel Time 23 min.

chateau Le Bosc