It is a small castle with an immense and legendary history. A few dozen kilometers from Auch, in the Gers, the Château de Lupiac was the birthplace of Charles de Batz de Castelmore, better known as d’Artagnan.
“The history of d’Artagnan goes far beyond the borders of Gers, Occitanie and even France”, underlines David Taupiac, deputy of Gers for France 3. An ideal residence to establish a cultural and tourist center which will shine the country of Armagnac and more widely the Gers. With this in mind, the community of communes of Fezensac therefore made a purchase offer to the owner of the castle, which has been on sale for several years.
The two potential buyers came forward last year. However, the Castelmore castle had been offered for sale by its successors since 2015. But it was when the CEO of Auchan Retail made his offer that the community of municipalities of Fezensac wanted to respond by proposing an equivalent offer by presenting a project of general interest with the support of the State and promising a total investment of no less than ten million euros.
Problem is, Safer (the Land Development and Rural Establishment Company) chose, on December 19, Yves Claude, the boss of Auchan since the castle is surrounded by more than 70 hectares of agricultural land. Now, the puzzle is in the hands of the regional Safer which will have to make a definitive decision on the two projects. A first battle lost for the elected officials who maintain the hope of being able to install a museum dedicated to the Musketeer by Alexandre Dumas. And they intend to win the war.
The objective being to create a grand display in the building and its grounds to highlight the life of Charles de Batz de Castelmore, the work of Alexandre Dumas, but also the regional identity of Gascony. A national-scale project supported by the region but also the State and brought together under the banner of an association called “Autour de d’Artagnan”. But despite its strong support, the project for a future museum is weakened and is not certain to see the light of day.
Charles de Batz de Castelmore known as d’Artagnan was therefore born between 1611 and 1615 at the Château de Castelmore in Lupiac in the Gers. “We don’t know exactly when, because the parish registers have disappeared, confides Maxime Millos for France 3. We also don’t know where he is buried. But he was a bodyguard of Louis XIV, from a family of seven children: four boys, three girls. One boy remained on the property because we did not share at the time. A second was a priest and the third (Paul) was a musketeer. He died at 94. It is the last direct heir.”
Charles de Batz had two boys. The eldest, also a musketeer, received the Gers property. Wounded, he died relatively young. His brother therefore inherited the castle, which had long been uninhabited and sold to the Lasserre family around 1769. This family remained its owner until 1939, when an Englishwoman bought it. In the 1940s, it was a local political figure who acquired this historical heritage: Yves Rispat. President of the Gers Chamber of Agriculture, UMP president of the general council (from 1992 to 1998), former deputy and senator and mayor of Lupiac. He died in 2015 and it was his partner Jeanine Espié who inherited it and is still the owner.