Château de l’Empéri
Perched on a rocky base overlooking the Crau Plain, Château de l’Empéri is the oldest fortress in Provence still standing and one of the three biggest in France (alongside Palais des Papes in Avignon and Château du Roi René in Tarascon).
It stands on a rocky spur that was barricaded in the 10th century and is the symbol of the Arles Archbishops’ feudal authority over Salon and its population.
Salon was part of the Holy Roman Empire from the 11th century onwards. The Archbishops became the German Emperor’s vassals until 1481, hence the Provençal name “Emperi” that the château has been called for centuries.
The Arles Archbishops lived here until 1792 and turned the fortress into a palace in the 16th century.
The building was significantly damaged by an earthquake in 1909 and underwent extensive restoration work in 1920 to restore it to its former glory and give it a new role in town.
Château de l’Empéri is the town’s signature and has housed the state’s Raoul and Jean Brunon collection since 1967, on display as part of an agreement with the Army Museum.