Château Monbazillac

This remarkable 16th century castle is now home to some of the finest desert wines in the world.

Information

  • Address: Le bourg, 24240 Monbazillac
  • Telephone: +33 (0) 5 53 61 52 52
  • Map Grid: B1
  • Tariffs: Adults: €7. Ages 12 - 16: €5. Ages 5 - 11: FREE.
  • Open: February to December
  • Opening Times: 10am - 7.30pm in high season
  • Reservation Recommended.
  • English Guides and Guided Tours Available.

Map

Disclaimer

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.

Description

Erected in the heart of the vines,some 6kms south of Bergerac, Monbazillac Castle , which is open to the public, was built around 1550 by François d'Aydie and his wife Françoise de Salignac, and completed by Charles d'Aydie and Jeanne de Bourdeille. It managed to survive the Wars of Religion and the Fronde (the insurrection or 100 years war) without damage. Being practically untouched since the Renaissance era, it has retained a great deal of authenticity. The facade of the house, which is cornered by four large round towers. features transom windows. A crenelated parapet walk surmounted by hIgh gable windows, goes around the whole castle. The red tile roof which covers the gray stone building has lilied weather vanes. Dry moats complement the defensive system of this Chàteau which, although built in the 16th century, has a distinctly medieval character.

Now owned by the Monbazillac wine cooperative, the castle contains a number of museums. The great hall with its French style ceiling has a monumental 16th century fireplace and two 17th century tapestries from Flanders. In the various rooms, one may discover Périgordin style furniture old engravings and cards, medals, drawings by Sem, a local caricaturist from the early 20th century, and the history of Protestantism in the Bergerac region, the castle having long been used as a temple. On the first floor, the Louis Xlll bedroom of the Viscountess of Monbazillac has been recreated. The cellars naturally house a wine museum (a tasting room which offers visitors the chance to purchase directly from the chateau). One might also take a stroll in the ten acre grounds and discover the wide panorama over the vineyards and the Bergerac Valley from the terraces.
Anyone who is fond of good wine will recognize Monbazillac Castle on the labels of the region's most well known vintage. The vineyard which produces a fortified white wine, sweet yet suitably fruity, covers around 7500 acres. Created by monks in the 11th century, it experienced strong growth in the 17th century with the increase in exports to Holland. Chateau de Bridoire (15th century) which belonged to the family of Father Charles de Foucauld must also be seen.

The Cellars boast a wall of 6,000 bottles of Monbazillac in golden yellow colours, the “Dutch Brands” display which testifies to the glorious past of this region. The 16th century vaulted kitchens, their fireplaces, bread ovens, wells, sinks, fruit gardens and 18th and 19th century kitchen utensils. Note the earth floor. The wine museum, with objects and tools for vine-growing and a permanent educational exhibition: 9 panels showing the history of vines, the Monbazillac vineyard, its prestigious appellation, the winegrowing calendar and the history of the Monbazillac cooperative, owner of the site.