Located in the Occitanie region of France, Château de Bonrepos-Riquet is the country home of Pierre-Paul Riquet, engineer and creator of the Canal du Midi, a major historic river route through the south of France.
Originally built in 17th-century style, few of the château’s decorations from this period have survived, replaced by renovations in the 18th and 19th centuries. The gardens of this splendid estate were also the training ground for Pierre-Paul Riquet, who used them to test techniques in the process of creating the Canal du Midi.
Riquet was also responsible for the creation of some surprising features on the estate, such as the rocky cave, inspired by the Renaissance and Antiquity and imported from Italy. Shell inlays adorned the walls, framing two facing alcoves. This cave is a rare surviving example of this 16th and 17th century tradition, which was gradually abandoned in the 18th century.
The influence of this prestigious owner still resonates today through various cultural events organized throughout the year around this character and his canal, which, according to some, inspired Thomas Jefferson, then future President of the United States, to create the Erie Canal.