Guardian of the confluance of the Dordogne and the Céou, that natural passage between Quercy and Périgord.
- Address: 24250 Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
- Telephone:+33 (0)5 53 31 30 00
- Map Grid: B3
- Tariffs: Adults: €9.80. Ages 10 - 17: €4.90. Ages 0 - 10: FREE.
- Open: All Year
- Opening Times: 9am - 7.30pm
- Reservation Recommended.
- English Guides and Guided Tours Available.
The information is correct at time of writing, but may be subject to change. Prices are only meant as a guide and may not be current.
Guardian of the meeting point of the Dordogne and the Céou, the Château of Castelnaud seems to rise out of the medieval village which besieges the slopes of the hill.
Its base goes back to the Xllth century. Since one of the sides is naturally protected by the sheer cliff overlooking the Dordogne, the northern flank was strengthened in the XVth century by a barbican to protect the drawbridge. Since the access way to the village represented a weak point, a curtain wall flanked by two towers was added in the XVth century. To the south, the oldest part, dating back to the Xlllth century, is arranged in a triangle around a high keep flanked by a huge round artillery tower and walls 4 metres [13 feet] thick, built around 1500. The dates speak for themselves. Castelnaud offers us the most authentic voyage to the heart of a fortified castle of the Middle Ages. As well as the chateau, there is the museum of War-in-the-Middle Ages, which houses a collection of arms and armour and full scale replicas of machines of war.
Founded in the Xllth century, by the beginning of the Xlllth Castelnaud was the fief of the cruel Cathar Bernard de Casnac. In 1214, and again in 1215, the no less cruel Simon de Montfort seized the castle and dismantled it. The rivalry between Castelnaud and Beynac pushed the two neighbours into opposing camps during the Hundred Years War. In the course of the conflict, the castle which was the most advanced English stronghold east of the Guyenne changed hands many times. It was only in 1442, eleven years before the end of the war, that the French won it back, after a siege decreed by Charles Vll. At the end of the XVth century, Francois de Caumont and his wife, Claude de Cardaillac, left the fortress and had the Château des Milandes built, because it is said, she was depressed by the austere atmosphere of Castelnaud Castle.
The castle’s configuration and its many narrow stairways make access to the museum’s rooms difficult for people with reduced mobility. However, access to the lower courtyard, the viewing point and the barbican is possible. Moving about with prams and pushchairs inside the castle as well as outside is difficult; it is strongly recommended to leave them in the designated space at the castle’s entrance. Animals on leashes are allowed within the castle grounds.