Château de La Roche (France)
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes See list of castles in Francia
The Château de La Roche is located on a loop of the Loire in the town of Saint-Priest-la-Roche (Loire department), 20 km from Roanne.
The earliest writings on the castle date from 1260. It was built on a rocky peak overlooking the Loire more than 40 meters. This fortification provided a point of watch and toll for the frontier of the County of Forez. But this building had more times to undergo the floods of the Loire than an enemy attack.
In 1290, Girard de La Roche paid tribute to the Compte de Forez for his house in La Roche1.
In the seventeenth century, by repeated floods, the castle lost its attractions, resembling more and more a fortified house to become a ruin a few centuries later. In the early 1900s a Roanne industrial bought the castle and restored it in the Gothic style, to make it his second home.
In the 1930s, the construction project of the Villerest Dam by EDF condemned the castle to disappear under water. EDF acquired it in 1965 but the castle then deteriorated very quickly with many looting. It will finally be bought in 1993 for a symbolic franc by the municipality of Saint-Priest.
When the dam was commissioned in April 1984, the castle will be the only building spared by the water. It is now located on an island. In 1996, the castle is fully restored and the water level of the dam is revised downward to allow access to the castle throughout the year.
The regulation of the course of the Loire still does not prevent the castle from remaining floodable: it was also affected by floods in 2003 and 2008.