The cellar lies partially underground, beneath the Chateau ancient ‘keep’ with arrow slits that originally looked out into the Chateau’s enormous dry moat [now filled in]. The cellars would have been used to store the wines, grains and other foods required through the winter or when the Chateau was under attack. The cellar is humid and remains at a consistent temperature of around 14 degrees centigrade, optimal for the storage of wine. The cellar is divided in the centre by a stone arch, one part of the cellar being 9 by 6 meters and one, at the far end, being 6 by 6 meters.
In restoring the cellars, the original stone slabs have been relaid [they had been lost under the dirt of time] and the lime work in the walls and windows have been restored. The arched roof remains exactly as it was and you can still see the small holes that were used to allow cooler air to enter the chambers above, during the hot summer season. Some large building stones found in the cellar have been used to create a stone table at one end and antique ‘Renaissance’ furniture from the region, has been put against the walls. Subtle up-lights have been added around the edge of the walls. The new ‘Sanctum’ has a feeling of peace and security and forms a wonderful backdrop to flowers and flickering candlesticks.
Wedding couples can use the ‘Chateau Sanctum’ for their wedding ceremonies, with up to 80 guests both sitting and standing. It can also be used to store your wines and wedding materials, free of charge, for up to one month prior to your event.
The Sanctum forms a charming venue for a rehearsal dinner of up to 50 guests and for a service fee of €5 per guest and a minimum booking fee of €200. Candles can be used to add to the ambience.
In addition, couples may wish to use the Sanctum for their evening dancing. It is advisable that a sound test is conducted prior to the event and it is requested that plastic glasses are used for late night parties.
At one end of the cellar is the Roman wall, which forms part of the Chateau foundations. The contrasting Roman and the medieval stone work can clearly be seen. Beside these early foundations, lies the entrance to the Chateau prison or ‘oubliette’ [which means to forget] from which small fluffy bats fly about in the evening dusk. An oubliette or bottle dungeon is a form of dungeon which is accessible only from a hatch or hole in a high ceiling. This Secret chamber was shaped like a beehive with the oubliette below ground level and the trap door at the top of the high, beehive cylindrical shaped ceiling. There were usually no windows in the oubliette and the only access was from the trap door in the ceiling. Prisoners were lowered into the oubliette from a rope and food and water was sent down by the same method. The most famous oubliette prison can be found in the Bastille in Paris.