CHÂTEAU DE BEYNAC
Beynac is one of the most beautiful villages in France and is found on the banks of the River Dordogne, to the south-west of Sarlat. Opposite the Chateau de Beynac across the river is its traditional enemy the Chateau de Castelnaud.
The pretty village of Beynac spreads along the northern bank of the Dordogne river, and up the hill behind, reaching the castle that stands poised above the village and river. The narrow lanes wind up through the traditional Dordogne white and yellow stone buildings - best seen around sunrise if you are up and about early! On the rivers edge you get some lovely views with the river, often full of canoes, a long stretch of wonderful stone houses and rising above the village the imposing chateau of Beynac.
As you wind up its narrow streets every twist in the pavement seems to offer another splendid view and another photo opportunity. Even if you decide not to visit the chateau continue right on up to the top of the village as there is a great viewpoint at the top with views over the Dordogne river, The Chateau de Castelnaud and the chateau de Feyrac. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the village, many offering great views as you sit and have lunch on one of their shady terraces. There are also some great little boutiques including one at the top of the village selling some fabulous, unique pieces of jewellry made of enamel on copper.
For a different view of Beynac try to come back in the evening when it is beautifully lit and looks like a fairy-tale village. Beynac is officially one of France's most beautiful villages and definitely deserves to be. It is definitely one of our favourite villages in the Dordogne and not to be missed.
Apart from the village itself, the main highlight of Beynac is the Chateau de Beynac - a very interesting chateau which also offers great views across the surrounding countryside and river.
Also to visit in Beynac is the 'archaeological park' - neolithic buildings have been reconstructed using traditional techniques. While here, find the time to also visit neighbouring Cazenac, especially its little church, the eglise Ste Marie, and yet more great views. Beynac is more correctly called 'Beynac-et-Cazenac' - Cazenac is the neighbouring commune, which is administratively linked to Beynac.
Beynac has featured in a couple of well known films set in the Dordogne, including Chocolat (with Juliette Binoche) and The Joan of Arc Story (with Dustin Hoffman).
GALLERY ( click on a picture for enlargement )