The Château de Castelnaud and its Museum of Medieval Warfare
The fortress of the château de Castelnaud, towering over the Dordogne River, is a medieval castle located at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the Périgord Noir. This heritage-listed castle is a mecca for lovers of French history with a particular focus on medieval warfare. Bring your family or friends along for one of the castle’s guided tours and learn about how castles were attacked – and defended – in days gone by, followed by a live-fire demonstration of a trebuchet. Next, you’ll encounter a crossbowman from the period of the Hundred Years’ War, and if you’re so inclined, you could round your visit off by trying on suits of 15th century-style armour or the kind of clothes that would have been worn by the fashion-conscious 14th century lord and lady of the manor.
Tours of the Château de Beynac, at the heart of the Périgord Noir
Standing proud upon a rocky spur, the Dordogne River a sheer drop of 152 metres below, the château de Beynac is a repository of 500 years of French history. Richard Lionheart came here, the castle was besieged as part of ‘Simon de Montfort’s crusade against the Cathars and the Hundred Years’ War did not leave it unscathed either. A tour of the Château de Beynac is an unmissable stop on any Périgord Noir travel itinerary. Prepare to be whisked back in time to explore the most iconic sights of the medieval period: keeps, vaulted rooms, real medieval kitchens, places of worship, spiral and classic staircases and 17th century interiors. It’s almost like you were there yourself !
The Château and Gardens of Milandes in the Dordogne
The Château des Milandes was built in 1489 in Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the Périgord Noir region of the Dordogne. During the medieval period it was the main residence of the Lords of Caumont. A historic marvel like no other, the castle is loved by tourists from all over the world. The famous US singer Josephine Baker had a vision for the château as somewhere almost otherworldly – a vision shared by the current owners. Explore this wonderful château with its 15 rooms with views over the courtyard and gardens. These include the main lounge with an exhibition of Josephine Baker’s stage outfits, Art Deco bathrooms and an astonishing room with 15th century beams. The highlight of the visit is a tour of the carefully-landscaped Renaissance-style garden, complete with cascades, making for a truly spell-binding sight !
Tour of the Marqueyssac hanging gardens
Marqueyssac is one of the finest Romantic-style gardens in France. Located in Vézac in the Périgord Noir, less than 10 km from Sarlat, the site comprises 15 hectares of open ground and densely-planted gardens aligned with the cliff-top. Cypress trees and umbrella pines reach for the sky. This garden has been designed to be something of an open-air museum devoted to plants and the art of the French garden. The Marqueyssac hanging gardens, the Châteaux de Castelnaud and the Château de Beynac are the trio of attractions in the Périgord noir which feature in every tour and holiday itinerary. Classified a ‘Jardin remarquable’ by the French Ministry of Culture, the Marqueyssac hanging gardens offer a multitude of different floral spectacles which imbue it with just the perfect atmosphere for a romantic stroll or a botanical voyage of discovery, whichever you prefer.