The first mention of Fontarèche can be found in a deed dated 984, in which Sieur ERMENGAUD, the Archbishop of Narbonne, granted someone named Sifrède ‘the smallholding known as Fontaresche with the tower that is there, except for the church and ecclesiastical elements’ as an honorary fiefdom.
He would feed sixteen knights every year.
In 1201, the Archbishop of Narbonne commissioned a moated fortress in Fontarèche. An inventory of the Archbishop of Narbonne’s revenue and seigneurial rights which was drawn up in the second half of the 14th century notes for Fontarèche: ‘a fortified castle with keep and chapel, seigneurial and other land, vines purchased by Pierre de la Jugie (Archbishop of Narbonne from 1347 to 1375), a pasture, a meadow, a forest with rabbit warrens…’
Towards the late 17th century, Fontarèche acquired the status of a ‘specific seigneury’ and became the property of nobles.
Fontarèche thus passed to the MIGNARD family whose members included various famous painters, such as Pierre MIGNARD who succeeded Lebrun as the director of the Royal Academy of Painting under King Louis XIV. He was the portrait painter for the king and major figures at the court, and his works include the paintings which decorate the dome of the Church of the Val-de-Grâce in Paris, as well as The Virgin of the Grapes which is on display at the Louvre Museum.
The LAMY family which now owns Fontarèche are descendants of the MIGNARD family, with Marie-Eulalie MIGNARD (who died there in 1943) the last owner to bear the Mignard name. She now lies in the chateau’s chapel.
1957 saw Fontarèche’s current owner Jacques de LAMY take over from his father Count Edouard de LAMY.
The Fontarèche vineyards form a perfect 145-hectare square around the chateau, marking a heritage which has been lovingly preserved over the centuries.