7 castles in Dordogne

TiL’s domain is in a region blessed by the gods, in the heart of the green Périgord, and the Périgord Limousin Regional Natural Park.

But did you know that the Périgord comes in 4 colors? Green, white, purple and black? Each one has its own characteristics, but always in common, the incredible beauty of nature, the magic of light and the richness of the imprints left by history.

We will take you on a tour of 7 emblematic castles of the region, illustrious places of the artistic, literary or historical life of France.

Fénelon

This medieval fortress of the Black Perigord and its double enclosure, built in the year 1000 on the rock, is one of the rare ones still to be topped by its roof of lauzes. It dominates the valley of the Dordogne and it is also known for having seen the birth of the famous writer Fénelon, whose real name was François de Salignac de La Mothe Fénelon. Tutor to the grandchildren of Louis XIV, Archbishop-Duke of Cambrai, member of the French Academy, he remains one of the most illustrious writers of the Grand Siècle and was considered the precursor of the philosophers of the Enlightenment for his innovative ideas. Incredibly preserved, the richly sculpted interior rooms and a walk outside within its walls offer an exciting journey through time for young and old.

Les Milandes

Built in 1489, this captivating gothic building owes its current fame to the illustrious Josephine Baker, who will enter the Pantheon in a few months. The Lord of Caumont, an illustrious aristocratic family, offered it to his wife as a charming residence, brighter than the fortress of Castelnaud, their fief.  It remained their home until the Revolution. Many times abandoned and transformed, it went from neo-gothic to neo-renaissance. All around, the planting of an English park and a French garden accompany the visitor in a crazy eclectic walk full of surprises. Don’t forget to make a detour to the chapel!

It is the Franco-American artist who, with her husband the musician Jo Bouilon, gave it back its letters of nobility after its purchase in 1947. A museum is now dedicated to her with a hundred objects that belonged to her.

Castle of Montaigne

Located at the south-east end of the Dordogne in the Purple Perigord, in the heart of the vineyards and at the gates of Saint Emilion, this old fortified house with an atypical appearance, invites you to plunge into the heart of the reflections of the philosopher Michel de Montaigne, whom this castle saw being born and dying. Only the tower of Montaigne containing “his bookshop” can be visited freely. It is where he fixed his Humanist thought forever through 57 Greek and Latin sentences painted on the ceiling beams, and where he wrote his Essays between 1571 and 1592. A classified historical monument from the 14th century, this private property has been altered several times, notably after a fire in the 19th century.

Tour de Montaigne, 24230 Saint Michel de Montaigne – Tel : 05 53 58 63 93

Castle of Jumilhac le Grand

10 minutes from the TiL estate, in the Green Périgord in the north-east of the Dordogne, the Château de Jumilhac is a private property open to visitors. This castle is a perfect illustration of the historical remodeling and architectural advances throughout history. From a simple feudal house to a fortress that became a dungeon, from a purely Renaissance transformation to the creation of a French garden, the successive owners have left their mark. Its incredible roofs, bristling with towers and turrets all different, are unique and have made it famous to the point of having been, it seems, the source of inspiration for Walt Disney to draw the castle of Sleeping Beauty! It is also known for the “Chambre de la Fileuse”, where the unfortunate Louise de Hautefort was locked up by her husband for 20 years, all for having supposedly cast a gentle glance at a troubadour, as her jealous husband said …. Also worth seeing is the old 13th century castle chapel, the covered way and the old dovecote.

Place du Château, 24630 Jumilhac-le-Grand, 06 09 61 78 40

Castle of Hautefort

If you are a movie buff, the profile of this castle should be familiar to you, as no less than 15 films have been shot there since 1960. After a tormented history since its foundation in 1099, the medieval fortress acquired its current style in the 16th and 17th centuries, more like a Loire castle. After the Revolution, the castle was barely saved, then entirely renovated until the middle of the 20th century. Several fires made its future uncertain… We saw ourselves, as children, in the sky of the TiL domain, the immense traces of smoke coming out of the last gigantic fire… Historical monument, the castle is one of the most prestigious monuments of the south-west and you will be able to visit its interior and its gardens, with many activities, exhibitions and theatrical reconstitutions during the summer period.

Château de Hautefort – Le Bourg – 24390 Hautefort. Tél. : 05 53 50 51 23

Castle of Beynac

In the black Périgord, this 12th century fortress is one of the best preserved and most renowned in the region. This ancient fortress, with a medieval look, of Richard the Lionheart, is perched on its limestone promontory overlooking the Dordogne with a breathtaking view. You will see several centuries of French history pass by, in the footsteps of Richard, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Simon de Montfort and the Hundred Years War. Its impressive rooms, such as the 15th century States of the Baronies of the Périgord, are in an exceptional state of preservation, as is its 13th century kitchen. The films Joan of Arc by Luc Besson, FanFan La Tulipe by Gérard Krawczyk as well as Ridley Scott’s Last Duel (2020) were filmed there. A spectacular and unforgettable visit, which we never tire of.

Route du château, 24220 Beynac-et-CazenacTél: 05 53 29 50 40

Castle of Commarque

In the Vézère valley, it is one of the oldest in the region, and above all the most complex because it was a whole set of defenses, successive moats, ramparts, with a dizzying 80-meter high keep.

This timeless building is itself built on prehistoric caves. One can discover there works sculpted in low and half-relief, as well as engravings attributed to the Magdalenian period (between -18.000 and -12.000 before our era).

Its recent history is that of a mad passion… Abandoned for 4 centuries, Commarque was taken over by a descendant, Hubert de Commarque, who for 50 years has been relentlessly excavating, uncovering and restoring all the buried ruins. The work of a lifetime, continued now with the same energy by his daughter Aude.

In a very, very modest way, it is this same passion that drives us to preserve and embellish the TiL estate.

Château de Commarque, 24620 Les Eyzies – Tél. : 05 53 59 00 25

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