Discovering the castles of the Dordogne

Welcome to the cradle of tales and legends, where rivers meander through wooded hills and castles, worthy sentinels of time, emerge majestically. The Dordogne, a land rich in history and mystery, is home to a priceless treasure: a collection of châteaux that bear witness to the splendour and grandeur of a bygone era.

Don’t we say “the region of a thousand and one castles”?

Castle of La Roque-Gageac

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle: The Guardian of the Valleys

Perched proudly on a rocky spur overlooking the valley, Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle is a medieval fortress that evokes the courage and splendor of knights. Dating back to the 13th century, the château offers a breathtaking view of the meandering Dordogne river. The richly decorated rooms house the Musée de la Guerre au Moyen Âge, with its impressive collection of ancient weapons and armor, including armor, chain mail, crossbows, harquebuses and other handguns, as well as very rare pieces from the early days of artillery, such as the astonishing ribaudequin, or 12-tube organ, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, which is none other than the ancestor of the submachine gun. Outside are life-size reconstructions of the most powerful siege machines of the period: Perrière, mangonneau, trébuchet… Beneath these rather bizarre names lie terrible throwing weapons, capable of forcing the walls of besieged castles from a distance.

Beynac-et-Cazenac: Lord of the Heights

Set atop a vertiginous cliff, the Château de Beynac-et-Cazenac looms majestically against the sky. Listed as a historic monument, this medieval château offers a glimpse into the history of the region. Visitors can stroll through its well-preserved rooms, gaze at the horizon from its ramparts and imagine tales of a time when nobility reigned supreme.

Les Milandes: The Elegance of Josephine Baker

Nestled in the heart of the valley, Château des Milandes combines medieval history with a touch of 20th-century elegance. The former home of the famous dancer Josephine Baker, the château boasts enchanting gardens, refined interiors and mementos of the icon’s hectic life. Les Milandes captivates with its unique blend of romanticism and modernity.

Hautefort: A Renaissance gem

Château de Hautefort, surrounded by formal gardens, is a dazzling example of Renaissance architecture in the Dordogne. Visitors can explore its vast gardens, stroll through its richly decorated corridors, and imagine themselves immersed in an era when art and culture flourished. Panoramic views from the terraces add to the enchantment, making Hautefort a place where history and beauty intertwine harmoniously.

Château de Commarque: “A forgotten fortress

Commarque Castle

A well-preserved, well-hidden gem, Château de Commarque stands in the heart of the Beune valley, between Sarlat and Les Eyzies, a little way back at the junction with the Vézère Valley (the Valley of Man).

It stands proud and majestic, defying the valley and looking down on those who approach with caution. Emerged from the vegetation in the 1970s, it is the embodiment of a medieval fortress with imposing towers. Witness to a rich past, it fascinates visitors with its prehistoric remains, mysterious underground passages and exceptional panorama. An immersive experience at the heart of history and nature.

The châteaux of the Dordogne are much more than stone relics; they are living witnesses to a time when nobility reigned, intrigue was woven in majestic courtyards, and art and culture flourished. Each stone, each turret tells a captivating story, while the landscapes that surround them transport visitors to another time.

Whether your journey takes you to conquer medieval fortresses, discover elegant Renaissance mansions, or encounter contemporary history, the châteaux of the Dordogne promise an immersive experience. Come and explore these jewels of the past, where majestic architecture blends with picturesque landscapes, creating a timeless picture of the cultural heritage of this unique region.

Beyond their built heritage, most of these prestigious tourist sites organize events to delight young and old alike. For its 4th edition, the Châteaux en Fête operation, from April 13 to 28, 2024, offers a selection of sumptuous châteaux, manor houses and gentleman’s cottages from among the 1001 in Périgord, who open their doors to you to share unique moments around exceptional animations, exhibitions, shows, sounds and lights, concerts, banquets, candlelight dinners, guided tours by the owner, conferences….