I’m still the King of the Castle – Chateau de Castelnaud   10 comments

It was our last day of proper holiday fun before we started the long drive back home.

Chateau de Castelnaud

Chateau de Castelnaud and Village

There was plenty of choice for us with rivers, castles, gardens and caves all on our doorstep. The Dordogne really is a top place for a family holiday, plenty to keep the kids entertained. As you know from our visits to Peyrepertuse and Bonaguil we are castle addicts in the Jones family and the Chateau de Castelnaud only 10 minutes away was too good to resist.

Chateau de Castelnaud

Chateau de Castelnaud

We’d seen the castle from our trip down the river the previous day so it was an obvious choice for a visit.

Castelnaud bridge over the Dordogne

Castelnaud bridge over the Dordogne

Chateau de Castelnaud & Keep

Chateau de Castelnaud & Keep

It stands high above the river and it’s a massive and impressive construction, unlike the other two castles it was pretty much intact and it was clear from entering the gates that they take alot of effort to make a visit an entertaining and informative affair.

Chateau de Castelnaud & Keep

Chateau de Castelnaud & Keep

There were loads of people wandering around in period costume with demonstrations of a small working trebuchet (the catapults that hurl stones and boulders around) as well as sword fighting displays and a whole raft of audio-visual stuff. There was also an impressive display of various siege engines and war machines from those that just chuck small rocks to massive ones that can hurl huge boulders, quite ingenious for the middle ages.

Siege Engines and Trebuchets

Siege Engines and Trebuchets

You enter the castle at its base and work your way upwards through the armouries to the living quarters and eventually out on to the battlements at the top of the keep.

View across the armoury tower

View across the armoury tower

On the curtain wall

On the curtain wall

The castle’s prime years were in the hundred years war when it changed hands many times and was in constant conflict. However at the end of the war it had been largely destroyed. worn down by the constant sieges. The castle was restored in both the 15th and 16th centuries but it wasn’t until 1969 that a major reconstruction was started that has returned the castle to its former glory. It’s now a great example of a classic medieval castle with machicolated keep, curtain wall and inner bailey. The whole of the castle is in effect a museum of medieval warfare with a huge array of siege weapons, bows, crossbows, armour and the like.

Away from the historical fascination the castle commands a prime site on a spur above the river and the village of Castelnaud and the views are majestic.

Across the Dordogne to La Roque Gageac

Across the Dordogne to La Roque Gageac

There is a terrace outside the castle perched right on the edge and the panorama, from Domme, across the Dordogne and its neighbouring patchwork of fields and farms to Beynac et Cazenac, is breathtaking.

Across the Dordogne to Beynac at Cazenac

Across the Dordogne to Beynac at Cazenac

I stood and leaned on the wall and took in the scene with that slow dread starting to form that our holiday was coming to end and that winter would soon be starting. Much as I like the winter for walking I have to admit there is nothing to beat the warm sun on your back as you relax and take in the beauty of your natural (and man-made) surroundings.

P1130628

Family portrait

A great place to visit and strongly recommended for families with a keen interest in history or just an appreciation of a fine monument in a great natural setting.

Beynac et Cazenac

Beynac et Cazenac

We had a lovely lunch in the village before our final fling of the holiday, a visit to the Jardins de Marquesyssac on the opposite bank of the river

Advertisements

10 responses to “I’m still the King of the Castle – Chateau de Castelnaud

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. That end of holiday feeling can be a bit of a bummer can’t it? There have been times in the past when we’ve done big backpacking trips, that I really have found it quite difficult getting back into the routine of ordinary life again too. I suppose it’s all part of what changed us some years ago, from being vaguely career minded, to deciding that in actual fact we really were only interested in work as a means to finance what we would rather be doing! 🙂

    Like

    • It’s the worst part about a 3 week holiday. Just long enough for holiday life to feel like real life and adjusting back is much harder. We stopped off for a meal a few miles from home when we got back and we all sat there in total silence, unable to cope with reality 😦

      Most people I work with can’t believe how much holiday and weekends away I have. For me it’s the only reason for working although I don’t think I’ve ever been that seriously career minded, far too much like a big kid for that!

      For most trips I shut down my laptop and I’m off within minutes and regularly back home in the small hours ready to go straight back to work a few hours later. I try and extract every ounce of time from my time off. Only trouble is I now have to find time to write it all up 🙂

      Like

  2. I’ve just left a comment and it’s totally disappeared! Vapourised into thin air! I’ll have to psyche myself up to it to write it all out again….. 🙂

    Like

  3. Didn’t write a comment on this one, because by now the ipad and I had completely fallen out, it was in some sort of snit and refused to play the video.
    Sort of Wye Valley with knobs on? Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries has one trebuchet, but this looks most impressive.

    Like

    beatingthebounds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: