Some of our favourites:
Chateau de Bridoire
Simply a must see if you are staying near Eymet.
Chateau de Castelnaud
The Chateau de Castelnaud, officially listed as an Historic Site in 1966, stands high over the Dordogne valley, with magnificent views of the chateaux of Beynac and Marqueyssac and the medieval village of La Roque-Gageac. Open to the public since 1985, this one-time fortress is now given over entirely to displaying the art of warfare in the Middle Ages. Inside, it has a unique private collection of arms and armour, as well as furniture from the period; outside, you will find reconstructions of war machines, such as siege catapults, in actual size. These are reinforced by models and videos, explaining a medieval chateauxs different methods of attack and defence. The chateau, owned by the Rossillon family, has been brought back to life by three large-scale restoration programmes. Today, it attracts more than 220,000 visitors a year, of whom 20,000 are schoolchildren.http://www.castelnaud.com/uk/
Chateau de Milandes – The home of Josephine Baker
The Chateau des Milandes is a small castle in the commune of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the Dordogne departement of France. Built around 1489, it was the main house of the lords of Caumont until 1535, who preferred to live in this manor house instead of the large, uncomfortable medieval castle of Chateau de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. In 1940, the entertainer Josephine Baker rented the chateau and then bought it in 1947, and houses an extraordinary homage to her life, with wax statues, stage costumes, photos and memorabilia. It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1986. Approx. 1 hr north east of Eymet – 24250 Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Tel 05 53 59 31 21 http://www.milandes.com/
Chateau de Duras
Originally built during the 12th Century, the Castle was turned into an impregnable fortress in the early 14th Century by Bertrand de Got the then owner.The Durfort family acquired the Castle before the start of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) during which time it was under the control of first, the Duke of Aquitaine, King Henry II of England, and then the French King, Louis VII the younger. Envied by many noble families, Duras (the Durfort family), was granted the status of a Duchy at the end of the 17th Century. The Castle slowly became a superb country mansion, rather than a fortress with stables, formal gardens, and a huge reception area, the Hall of the â€œThree Marshalsâ€, and enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance of the Age of Enlightenment.It was partially destroyed and plundered during the French Revolution (1798) and fell into disrepair. The village people eventually bought the ruins at a public auction in the 1960â€™s. (Auction by Candle!) It boasts 35 restored rooms, including the hall of secrets. The basement is home to an ethnological museum (Archeology, Vines and Wine, Popular Art and traditional Agriculture) offering an insight into rural life over the centuries. Wines and vines Wine has been produced in the area since the 12th century. The Maison des Vins(The official home of Duras wines) has a permanent exhibition called The Keys to the Vineyards. Its vine helps you to understand the quality of the local wines. Advice is available on helping you organize your own vineyard tour. A cross-section of local wines is available, some 160 types of red, dry white, rose and sweet white. http://www.chateau-de-duras.com/ Approx. 20 mins of Eymet. Tel 05 53 83 77 32
Chateau de Bonaguil
Built in the late 15th century by Baron Berenger de Roquefeuil. A stunning fortified castle with seven turrets and six towers, one of which is classed as the most beautiful in the country.Chateau de Bonaguil is a castle in the French commune of Saint-Front-sur-Lamance, but actually owned by the neighbouring commune of Fumel in the Lot-et-Garonne departement. It has been classified as a Monument historique (Historic Monument) since 1862. The chateau de Bonaguil was the last of the fortified castles. It was built in the 13th century, but was entirely restructured at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries by Barenger de Roquefeuil, who added all of the defensive improvements of the end of the Middle Ages. A marvel of military architecture covering 7500 mÂ², incorporating the latest developments in artillery (both for defence and in adapting the defences for protection against it) it was, however, obsolete when completed. It was never attacked. The name derives from bonne aiguille (good needle) and refers to the defensive site: a steep, rocky promontory perfectly suited to the sitting of a castle. It passed from owner to owner until it was purchased in 1860 by the commune of Fumel The architect from the Monument historique restored the keep between 1882 and 1886. Other repairs were made between 1898 and 1900, including covering the watch tower roof with stone tiles in 1900. Further restoration works were carried out in 1948-1950, 1977 and 1985. Approx. 45mins south of eymet To view opening times click on website Tel 05 53 71 90 33www.bonaguil.org
The Chateau de Beynac is a castle situated in the commune of Beynac-et-Cazenac, in the Dordogne departement of France. The castle is one of the best-preserved and best known in the region. This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River.The castle was built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Perigord) to close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defences were built up on the plateau: double crenellated walls, double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican. Keep The oldest part of the castle is a large, square-shaped, Romanesque keep with vertical sides and few openings, held together with attached watch towers and equipped with a narrow spiral staircase terminating on a crenellated terrace. At the time of the Hundred Years’ War, the fortress at Beynac was in French hands. The Dordogne was the border between France and England. Not far away, on the opposite bank of the river, the Chateau de Castelnaud was held by the English. The Dordogne region was the theatre of numerous struggles for influence, rivalries and occasionally battles between the English and French supporters. However, the castles fell more often through ruse and intrigue rather than by direct assault, because the armies needed to take these castles were extremely costly: only the richest nobles and kings could procure them. The castle was bought in 1962 by Lucien Grosso who has restored it. Visitors to the castle can see sumptuous tapestries showing hunting and other scenes from the lives of the lords of the period. The Chateau de Beynac has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1944. Beynac castle has served as a location for several films, including Ever After by Andy Tennant, in 1998, and Jeanne d’Arc by Luc Besson, in 1999. The village of Beynac below the chateau, also served as a location for the film Chocolat by Lasse Hallstrem, in 2000.http://www.beynac-en-perigord.com/en/
Chateau de Biron is a stunning hilltop castle towards the southern border of the Dordogne region with the Lot-et-Garonne. Biron Castle, listed as an Historic Monument was the site of one of PÃ©rigordâ€™s four baronies (the other three were : Beynac, Mareuil and Bourdeilles). The Gontaut-Biron family who owned the castle for eight centuries made many transformations to the building between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries. It is now owned by the Dordogne dÃ©partement. Amongst many splendours most notable perhaps are : the twelfth-century keep, the two-storied chapel in which can be seen two tombs sculptured with recumbent figures, the Renaissance apartments and an immense vaulted kitchen.