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CHÂTEAU DE BEYNAC

Visit 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.

Explore Beynac
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).

Visit Chateau de Beynac
Chateau de Beynac sits high on a rocky promontory 200 metres above the Dordogne River, across which it faces Chateau Castelnaud. It is a heavily fortified château dating originally from the 12th century but modified, strengthened and altered many times since.

Explore the Chateau de Beynac
The fortifications failed to stop Richard the Lionheart who conquered the castle by scaling the cliff from below. His occupation of the castle was short-lived however - on an adventure against nearby Chateau Chalus soon afterwards he was wounded, and died soon after. The first thing to notice once you enter the chateau grounds are the fabulous views that you get over the river and the Chateaux of Fayrac, Castelnaud and Marqueysssac. Continuing on into the castle's courtyard you get a close up view of the keep which is where the accommodation is in the castle. Opposite the keep are the stables and the church. The church is now the church for Beynac and is entered from outside the castle grounds.

Inside the castle there are interesting dungeons, kitchens and living quarters to explore, and includes features from many ages due to the repeated transformations it underwent. You will admire especially the rare 15th-century frescoes which are in incredibly good condition, an impressive 17th century staircase, and some fine bedrooms and salons, not to mention 13th century toilets!

When you climb to the top of the dungeons you get some great views over all the roofs of the castle. Rain falling from these roofs into the central courtyard was collected in large underground tanks and was the drinking water for the castle in medieval times. As you walk round the castle you will become aware of the three main periods in the life of the Chateau de Baynac - the 12-13th century, the 14th century and the 17th century. Abandoned from the middle of the 18th century until the second half of the 20th century, Beynac has now undergone a substantial programme of renovation. The castle is privately owned and the owners in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and Communication have carried out the renovations.

Predictably, the castle has a magnificent view of the river and surrounding countryside.


Source: www.northofthedordogne.com


GALLERY ( click on a picture for enlargement )

 

 

   
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