In 1597, Jean Vigier, Royal Judge of Ste. Foy La Grande, started the construction of a château on land which he had purchased from the Duchesse de La Rochefoucauld, Lady of Saussignac.
In all likelihood, a fortified castle once stood on precisely the same spot as the castle we know today; the north-east circular tower, which appears to be much older than the remainder of the building, could well date from the 12th century. Furthermore, the remains of watchtowers and old stone walls have also been discovered in the vicinity.
The architectural style favoured by Jean Vigier is typical of the popular classical revival of the times. It was the château’s similarities to the real Château de Versailles, in particular its fountains and the use of natural springs to feed the dams, which gave it the name “Petit Versailles”.
A final point: the church of Ste. Croix, situated to the south of the château, dates back to the 13th century, and contains catacombs and a tunnel leading to the château.
The most beautiful building on the property must surely be the 17th century dovecot immediately next to the château. The story goes that Jean Vigiers’ daughter, Marguerite, took advantage of the absence of the Lord of Saussignac to have it built without first obtaining the requisite permission. Upon his return, highly displeased, the Lord of Saussignac took the case to court. Happily for posterity, Marguerite won the case after a legal battle lasting forty years, and the dovecot was allowed to remain.
The Château des Vigiers remained in the Vigiers family until the French Revolution, after which came a succession of different owners, until the day when a group of friends got together to buy it and restore it to all its former glory.