Château de Goutelas/

Humanism, law, creation

Château de Goutelas

Gregory Bret

Nestled in the Massif Central at Marcoux, the Château de Goutelas has been a heritage site for culture (CCR) since 2015. The cultural project ‘Humanism, law, creation’ illustrates the rich history of this 16th-century castle.


The Château de Goutelas was originally constructed in the 13th century as a fortified manor house, and still retains traces of the ramparts and the keep, transformed into a bell tower. Its ‘H’ configuration is the work of Jean Papon, distinguished magistrate and lieutenant of Forez from 1545-1590. The decor of the porches, the chapel entrance and frescos, the chimneys and some of the ceilings also date from the Renaissance. The 18th-century roof, façade and monumental staircase are the work of the Italian architect Dal Gabbio. In 1961 restoration began on the ruined castle, involving 150,000 hours of voluntary work. Local workers, intellectuals and artists such as the painter Bernard Cathelin, Duke Ellington, Marcel Marceau, Armand Gatti and Marcel Maréchal contributed to the success of the project. Goutelas was added to the list of historic monuments in 1964, and in 1985 was gifted to the community by its restorers. It is now the property of the Loire-Forez Agglomeration.


Since 1968 the activities of the Château de Goutelas have linked economy and culture, local development and an international outlook. Within a framework of cooperation and collaboration, the Goutelas cultural centre has developed a innovative project which continues the spirit of the building’s restoration and is based on three themes – humanism, law and creation. Artist residencies, symposiums, study days, academic seminars, business internships, workshops and outreach programmes run all year round. The authenticity of the renovation, the poetry and light of its location, the human history and imagination of the site make Goutelas a highly valued location.


The cultural project is based on the three themes of humanism, law and creation. The project continues the spirit of the castle’s restoration project within the framework of an innovative outreach programme. It works at a local, national and international level on the following:

- Exploring questions of humanism, law and creation, encouraging research, experimentation and cultural innovation;

- Stimulating a dynamic of societal transformation and invention through its outreach programme.

- Operating within a framework which links economy and culture to enable the autonomy of the project and a respect for its values.

The Château de Goutelas encourages creativity through hosting residencies and presenting a rich artistic programme. It regularly organises debates, supports research and offers training programmes. The castle is a place of heritage and of memory which offers guided tours, a restaurant and accommodation.


For 50 years the Goutelas project has been undertaken by the people of Forez who, having restored the site, now bring it to life. Goutelas is recognised by local organisations and artists as a platform for projects and a resource for the implementation of cultural and community initiatives. The Château de Goutelas provides expertise, work spaces and partnerships which widen the reach of its activity.