Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Château de Beynac

Well! I have discovered a beautiful castle, chateau, rather! I was scrolling through my Ever Faithful List of Castles when I saw it and thought, "blog post!"

Château de Beynac, in the commune of Beynac-et-Cazenac, in the Dordogne département of France.

It was built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac.

The oldest part of the castle is a large, square-shaped, Romanesque keep with vertical sides and few openings, held together with attached watch towers and equipped with a narrow spiral staircase terminating on a crenelated terrace. To one side, a residence of the same period is attached; it was remodeled and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries.

On the other side is a partly 14th century residence side-by-side with a courtyard and a square plan staircase serving the 17th century apartments. The apartments have kept their woodwork and a painted ceiling from the 17th century.

At the time of the Hundred Years' War, the fortress at Beynac was in French hands. The Dordogne was the border between France and England. Not far away, on the opposite bank of the river, the Château de Castelnaud was held by the English. The Dordogne region was the theatre of numerous struggles for influence, rivalries and occasionally battles between the English and French supporters. However, the castles fell more often through ruse and intrigue rather than by direct assault, because the armies needed to take these castles were extremely costly: only the richest nobles and kings could procure them.

The castle was bought in 1962 by Lucien Grosso who has restored it. Today it is open to the public.

I was enthralled by Château de Beynac's beauty ever since I saw it. But the one picture that made me certain that I had to go see it someday was this one:

Bonne journée. (Have a nice day.)


Ruth said...

Julie, I'd love to visit there, too! Maybe even live there. Thank you for your post! :)

Anonymous said...

The first and last pictures are especially stunning! Looks like an awesome place!

~ A.K. ~