Restoring the Fortress of Penne: Helicopter Rotations and Ambitious Dreams

the essential
To restore the impressive fortress of Penne, nestled on its rocky outcrop, helicopter rotations are necessary. The owner has great ambitions for this millennial site, which can be visited this summer.

The description of the problem is simple: from the banks of the Aveyron to the fortress of Penne, perched 120 meters above, you will mount tons of materials essential to the restoration of this high strategic place in the Middle Ages every year. You will not come back down empty but bringing with you as many tons of rubble.

Credit where credit is due, Axel Letellier, the owner of the site, has set about solving the equation: “It is by air that this task is the easiest”, he states. This Thursday, it is therefore a helicopter which, like every year, serves as a flying mule. Let’s go for about fifty rotations to transport bags of sand, bags of cement, finishing stones, scaffolding, plumbing… A non-exhaustive list.

“There is also the wood for the floor of the future museum which will open this year, a large beam and exterior cladding elements,” adds Axel. As it descends from the skies, the helicopter brings back its share of rubble. Defying time, impassive and imperturbable by the human activity deployed to restore its beauty, the castle takes shape on the horizon, perfectly marrying the rocky dome.

It must be said that its history is not a long calm river. Since at least the year one thousand, it has seen ambitious conquerors pass by: from the counts of Toulouse to a king of Aragon, passing through the crowned heads of the kingdom of France, without forgetting the supporters of the crown of England all throughout the Hundred Years’ War. Think then, for this fortress, a masterpiece of medieval military architecture, it is not a machine beating its wings in a din of hell, which will disturb its secular tranquility.

Night visits this summer

On the banks of the Aveyron, Axel Letellier oversees operations. A gentle madman fell in love at a very young age with this castle then in ruins, invaded by brambles and the forest: “My father was an architect and a great defender of heritage. He brought me here, I was amazed by the beauty of the place”. His gaze shines. Architect like dad, he realizes his childhood dream. A happy and grateful man for the craftsmen who participate in his life’s work. “They are artists! »

Since 2006, when he took possession of it and undertook to restore the fortress to its former glory, he has lost none of the faith capable of transforming a castle in severe disrepair into an archaeological treasure. But it would be wrong to think that this colossal restoration is the work of only one man. With him, Axel Letellier trained his whole family: his wife Sophie to begin with, but also his children. Perhaps you will come across his daughter in the guise of the princess during the medieval festivals of Penne.

“This summer, for the first time, we are offering nocturnal visits thanks to lighting,” emphasizes Axel. Each visitor contributes to the progress of the project. Indeed, the sums received from visits and purchases in the shop are entirely donated to restoration work and for entertainment.

2023-06-02 10:07:11

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