Dordogne Valley

Warring castles of Dordogne

The fortified castle of Castelnaud overlooking Dordogne valley in Périgord Noir

The fortified castle of Castelnaud overlooking Dordogne valley in Périgord Noir

Most of these castles are privately owned but some maybe visited, and these two fortified castles steeped in one of France most bloodiest war in Dordogne, are a must visit. Located on a hill overlooking beautiful green valleys is the thirteenth century Castelnaud once the warring arena between Bernard de Casnac who fervently sided with Gnostic Christians known as the Cathars and Simon de Monfort the Albigensian Crusader who finally succeeded in taking over the castle in 1214. Not long after, Bernard de Casnac regained the castle to be once again driven out this time by the Archbishop of Bordeaux. The castle destroyed during the continuous wars was later rebuilt and occupied by the English in 1337 during the Hundred Years war which was later besieged by the King of France. Several years later England lost the war in the famous battle of Castillon in 1453 that ended the Hundred Years conflict between both countries. Today Castelnaud privately owned by the Rossillon family, listed as Historic Monument of France invites visitors to time travel into the warring worlds of the medieval warlords through a display of weapons and armors as well as an array of reconstructed war machines used in the Middle Ages. The medieval war museum is certainly worth the stop over and home to some of the castle eclectic collection of weaponry, armor suits, crossbows and many more items used in the art of war during the Middle Ages.

Castelnaud and collection of weaponry used in the Middle Ages

Castelnaud and collection of weaponry used in the Middle Ages

This imposing Beynac fortified castle was built in the twelfth century by the barons of Beynac. If during the Hundred years war, Castelnaud was in the hands of the English, the fortress of Beynac was home to the French. Dordogne being the border between the English and the French becomes the battle field of tumultuous clashes between these two countries. Today privately owned by the Gasso family, also listed as part of the Historic Monuments, the castle brings visitors to rediscover an array of beautiful tapestries in a Gothic Renaissance style halls. Walk along the ramparts to get more fabulous vista of the river and the surroundings.

The lovely fortified Beynac castle

The lovely fortified Beynac castle

Browse through the labyrinth of massive stone walls today still standing majestically as remnants of its bygone warring past. From the castle there is a nice panoramic walk down to the river passing through the charming village of Beynac.

The fortified Beynac castle in Dordogne

The fortified Beynac castle in Dordogne

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