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charles antoine osmond
Charles Antoine Osmond

eustache osmondEustache Osmond

Schambre margot2tarting in the 12th century, this place was inhabited first by the Order of the Hospitaliers de St Jean de Jerusalem (the future Order of the Knights of Malta), then by a long succession of bishops officiating at the cathedral of Saint Bertrand de Comminges. They enlarged and embellished the building. Among them we must cite: Arnaud de Comminges, Bertrand de Goth (future Pope Clement V), Pierre II of Foix, Jean-Batiste de Foix-Grailly in the 15th century, Monseigneurs de Choiseul and de Lastic in the 17th century, Monseigneur de Lubière du Bouchet, founder of the hospital of Notre Dame de Lorette in 1734, the two bishops of Osmond in the 18th century. At the Revolution, the palace and its gardens were declared national property and divided into eleven parts. Gradually abandoned in the 19th century, disfigured by barns and haylofts, its wood paneling and fireplaces carried off by villagers and antique dealers, its roofs falling in, the palace was invaded by vegetation and fell into slumber…

entree vacheIts famous sculpted cow on the tympany in the entrance, evoking the lion on the porta della Carta in Venice, was twice nearly exported to America but was rescued by the inhabitants of Alan. In the tower, the 3-story stone staircase and two handrails, built by Jean de Foix-Grailly in the 15th century, show the traces of thousands of feet that climbed it during five centuries, and the 12th century room with its vaulted ceiling, present a rare example of "archere-canonnière".

escalierThe historic part that can be visited is a private house that was restored in two stages: in 1969 by Mr Gaillan, who saved a quasi-ruin, aided by the Monuments Historiques and numerous friends including the marquise de Maillé; then in 1998 the palace was purchased by the current owners who rendered the building habitable, redid the interior decoration and created the cultural association "Art et Rencontres au Palais d'Alan." The moat, which long served as a public dump, was cleaned and decorated with a labyrinth of marble gravel.

There is an art exhibition every year in the 12th century vaulted gallery, concerts are held in the Renaissance Hall and every weekend in summer visitors can see the salons and the vestiges of different eras.

The charming village of Alan, constructed for the notables and the entourage of the resident bishop, possesses beautiful stone houses and a 13th century church. Its sober, classical central square could easily serve as a stage for a comedia dell'Arte. In the last few years artisans and artists from different horizons have settled there. Others will surely soon be attracted by this serene place, on its rocky hill with a view of the Pyrenees and situated so close to Toulouse. The palace is the perfect setting for workshops, concerts and seminars.


Ancien Palais des Evêques
31420 Alan
Haute Garonne, France


Mayotte Magnus Lewinska
Tél : +33 05 61 98 90 72

Mayotte Magnus'
photography website :

Design: Kim Chevalier