Dordogne Chateaux: Medieval Castle Life


Photos and Videos of Medieval Castles In France

The magnificent Dordogne chateaux are lasting symbols of a rich and turbulent history.

The region was at war for over 400 years and witnessed many battles, including the Hundred Years War and War of Religion.


Chateaux de Biron

So it may not come as a surprise that there are so many castles here (over one thousand of them!)

Some of the Dordogne Chateaux have been used as sets for major hollywood movies (such as Jeanne d’Arc and Chocolat) .

Have you ever wondered what medieval castle life was like?

Here are some of our favourites. All of these castles are in Southwest France, in or near the beautiful Perigord and also within reach of Bergerac and the Bordeaux wine region.

Two of the best known castles are Beynac (captured by Richard the Lionheart in 1184) and Castlenaud, famous for their dramatic location high up on the clifftops.



Beynac is about 20 minutes drive west of Sarlat.

Check out this video footage of the castle and views from the top!

To the east of Beynac is the Chateau de Montfort, one of the most photographed of Dordogne Chateaux.


Chateau de Montfort

It’s not open to the public but is still worth seeing for it’s dramatic setting.

The castle has a long history of war – it was captured by Simon de Montfort (a french nobleman who fought in the Albigensian Crusade) in 1214, then burned to the ground. It was seized by the English during the Hundred Years War and has been rebuilt several times.

Moving on to the Chateau de Biron – so big that you’ll see it from a fair distance.


Chateau de Biron

The castle dates from the 12th century and has been added to over the years so it is a remarkable mix of architectural styles from medieval, to gothic, to renaissance.

We haven’t found this castle to be given alot of coverage in travel guides…but for us, its one of the most impressive of all the Dordogne Chateaux – mainly because of its sheer size! Biron is about 40 mins drive southeast of Bergerac.

The Chateau de Belcastel was built in the 11th century and, after falling into ruin for many years, was discovered by french architect Fernand Pouillon in the 1970s.


Chateau de Belcastel

It was painstakingly restored (they didn’t use machines – it was all done by hand). Technically this castle is in the département of Aveyron but can be reached on a daytrip from Sarlat (about 2 1/2 hours drive).

More Castles in France

More About the Dordogne

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