Lacoste is a small, exquisite hilltop village with an imposing castle dating from the 11th century. It was the site of terrible events during the religious wars of the 16th century.
It owes its celebrity to the castle’s owner in the 18th century, the infamous Marquis de Sade, who took refuge there after publishing his subversive novels (120 Days of Sodom and Justine, for example). There is no trace of the libertine author in the rooms you can visit today, but they have been beautifully furnished and decorated by the couturier Pierre Cardin, its new owner since 1981. Cardin led huge renovation works on the castle and in the village.
Lacoste welcomed numerous artists over the 20th century, including the Surrealists Max Ernst, André Breton and René Char. In 2002 the American art school SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) set up an annex in Lacoste. It won an award from UNESCO for its heritage conservation work. It boasts a remarkable garden – a work-in-progress by landscape designer Cécile Mangeot, who is also creating a Provençal garden for Château de Mille. The School has brought a wonderful new energy to Lacoste.