Our story

At the beginning of the 14th century, only a few remains of the Gallo-Roman fortification remained around Rodez.

Around 1350, after the first disasters of the Hundred Years’ War, the responsible authorities undertook the construction of a solid rampart under the direction of engineers appointed by the Sénéchal du Rouergue.

Of the twenty towers against which the perimeter wall leaned, the largest of them – the Maje Tower – stood in the west of the city.

Built projecting and dominating the rampart at the outer corner of which it was fortified, it was the most vulnerable, and therefore must have been stronger and of a larger diameter than the others.
An alarm bell was placed at the top and a sentry, paid by the community, kept watch over it.
Only pierced by six narrow loopholes, it then included a series of obstacles capable of discouraging the most daring assailants …

Its main entrance, located 3 meters high, could only be accessed by means of a sliding ladder. One could also enter it by the rampart walk crowning the wall. This has now disappeared, but a heavy oak door secured by an enormous beam forming a lock, closed this exit, overhung by a watchtower from which the attackers could be crushed under avalanches of stones.

Crossbow enthusiasts, grouped into a brotherhood, were in the 16th century allowed to train in the ditch that ran along the foundations of the tower.

Established under the patronage of Saint Sebastian, this brotherhood grouped together the most skilled marksmen in the city and periodically organized competitions in which the winner was rewarded by the presentation of an arrow of honor adorned with a coat of arms of lapping. When in the 17th century, the crossbow was dethroned by the arquebus, Louis XIII allowed competitions to be tolerated with the new weapon and we continued, in the ditches of the Tower, the same war exercises, the crash of powder replacing the whistling of arrows.

In the 16th century, a modest school was housed in the outbuildings of the tower, it was the embryo of a Lycée – now demolished – which was to be built on the land next to it.

At the turn of the century, the old Hôtel du Cheval Noir occupied the interior of the building. In 1970, the old hotel was demolished and rebuilt, only the Tower was preserved and refurbished.

The Hotel was then baptized Hotel de La Tour Maje, in memory of the so-called Majestic Tower.