4 -The contemporary period from 1706 until the present day.

    Jean Gabriel Henri de Narbonne-CAYLUS left no heirs and his widow, Marie-Anne de PASCAL de St FÉLIX, to whom he had left everything, sold the lordship of Lunas on 21st January 1723 for the sum of £130,000 through the offices of the Montpellier solicitor, Mr Clément. The new owner was Jean VIEL (1653 – 1728), originally a banker who became titled in 1702 through his role as "Secretary and Advisor to the King, his House, the Crown of France and its Exchequer".

   His son, Jean Antoine Viel of Lunas(1696 – 1742), qualified for the high and powerful title of Lord of Sourlan, Serremejane, Caunas, St. Martin, Gours, Les Pascals, La Valdenize, and also bought the Baronetcy of Pouget for £118,000 from Abdias d’ARNAUD de la CASSAGNE on 22nd of January 1727.

   From his first marriage in 1719 to Françoise Eléonore de ROQUEFEUIL-GABRIAC, he had a daughter, Antoinette Marguerite (1723 - 1799). Widowed soon after the birth of this child, Jean Antoine VIEL married for a second time Françoise Louise de MONTCALM (1710 - 1789), sister of the great MONTCALM. He died on 26 August 1742, leaving six young children.

   The feudal lordship of Lunas went to his eldest son, Louis Daniel Antoine Jean VIEL (1728 - 1777). In 1750 he wed Marie Reine de BOULLENE de SAINT REMY (1731 - 1771), daughter of François-Frédéric Maurice de BOULLENC de Saint REMY, captain of a cavalry company from the Bourban regiment and Claude Marguerite Marie Madeleine Antoinette de GIRARD D’ESPEUILLES. The marriage resulted in the birth of 5 children.

   Around the time of his marriage Louis Daniel Antoine Jean VIEL de LUNAS left the south of France and moved to the Parisien region. He rarely returned to Lunas and left his mother, Thérèse de MONTCALM GOZON, to manage his affairs there. He died in Montreuil (in the Eure-et-Loir department, not far from Paris) in 1777.

   His property went to his two sons, Antoine Pierre VIEL de LUNAS (1760 - 1837) and Antoine Louis François VIEL d’ESPEUILLES (1761 - 1836). Aged 10 and 11 years old respectively when their mother died and abandonned by their father, their maternal grandmother gained a warrant from Louis XV to allow them to be cared for by benedictine monks before joining the King’s bodyguards. They rarely visited Lunas and their paternal grandmother, Thérèse de Montcalm, continued to more or less manage the estate. She died in 1789 bequeathing them several properties in the Montpellier area.

   Living predominantly in Paris (or the Nièvre department), the brothers were listed as emigrants in the Hérault department and lost the title to their properties although they never actually left France. The error required urgent attention and the two brothers returned to Montpellier to take steps to retrieve their confiscated properties. It was as a personal possession of the VIEL de LUNAS family (and not from the state) that the title of the chateau and its lands were ceded to Jean Antoine VAILHÉ on 19 July 1794 (29 messidor An II), confirmed by an act of sale through the offices of Fulcrand OLLIER , a solicitor in Lodève.

   Jean Antoine VAILHE, a merchant from Lodève, managed the property jointly with his brother-in-law, a judge and solicitor from Lodève, Fulcrand OLLIER (1752 - 1834), who took it over completely in 1804.

   Mr Ollier subsequently offered the chateau as dowry when his only daughter Pauline married Hippolyte CHARAMAULE (1794 - 1886), from Mèze, in 1829. Hence, on the death of Fulcrand OLLIER in 1834, his son-in-law Hippolyte CHARAMAULE, inherited the castle and its lands.

   On Pauline CHARAMAULE’s death in February 1896, her only daughter, Pauline-Claire (1830 - 1917) who had married Évariste GUERRE took charge of the property and renovated it substantially (the stone roof was replaced with slate and in 1908 the chateau was joined with its outbuildings to create a grand staircase, billiards room, library, study, Empire room and large bedroom).

   In 1917, on the death of her mother, Valentine MAISTRE née GUERRE (1870 - 1954), carried on with the extensive work to ensure the chateau was extended to accommodate her large family. She stayed in the grand home frequently, overseeing the hay harvests and ‘ruling her world’; she dealt with everyone from the manager to the devoted cook.

   It was 1954, on the death of Valentine that Colette de FIRMAS née MAISTRE (1903 - 2002), tried to farm the land and create a living from the grand house that had been the chateau. But in changing times, this proved to be very difficult. How could the heavy costs involved in maintaining a chateau be covered by farming just 12 hectares ? In 1967, she decided to first sell the chateau to a professor of dental surgery from Montpellier, Mr BELVEZE. This allowed her to create a comfortable and easily maintained home by renovating the old hay lofts. Finally, with a generous offer from the conseil général de l’Hérault, the farm lands were handed over in 1988.

   At the present time, the chateau is owned by a Dutchman, Pieter BURGERS, and run as a restaurant. The lands that previously belonged to the chateau have been developed by the conseil général de l’Hérault into a watersport park for the benefit and relaxation of all.

The castle