Château de Beynac

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Château de Beynac

The Château de Beynac is a castle situated in the commune of Beynac-et-Cazenac, in the Dordogne département of France.[1] The castle is one of the best-preserved and best known in the region.

This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River.

History[edit]

The castle was built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac (one of the four baronies of Périgord) to close the valley. The sheer cliff face being sufficient to discourage any assault from that side, the defences were built up on the plateau: double crenellated walls, double moats, one of which was a deepened natural ravine, double barbican.

Keep

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 crenellated terrace. To one side, a residence of the same period is attached; it was remodelled 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. The Salle des États (States' Hall) has a Renaissance sculptured fireplace and leads into a small oratory entirely covered with 15th century frescoes, included a Pietà, a Saint Christopher, and a Last Supper in which Saint Martial (first bishop of Limoges) is the maître d'hôtel.

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 build and maintain them.

The castle was bought in 1962 by Lucien Grosso who has restored it.

Visitors to the castle can see sumptuous tapestries showing hunting and other scenes from the lives of the lords of the period.

The Château de Beynac has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1944.[1]

Film location[edit]

Beynac-et-Cazenac view from Jardins de Marqueyssac

The castle has been a location for several films:

Barons de Beynac[edit]

  • Maynard de Beynac (1115–1124)
  • Adhémar of Le Puy (1147–1189)
  • Richard Cœur de Lion, King of England (1189–1199)
  • Pons I de Beynac (1200–1209)
  • Gaillard de Beynac (1238–1272)
  • Pons II de Beynac (1251–1300)
  • Adhémar II de Beynac (1269–1348)
  • Pons III de Beynac ( –1346)
  • Boson, known as Pons de Beynac (1341–1348)
  • Pons IV de Beynac (1362–1366)
  • Philippe de Beynac ( –1403)
  • Pons V de Beynac (1461–1463)
  • Jean-Bertrand de Beynac ( –1485)
  • Geoffroy I de Beynac ( –1530)
  • François de Beynac ( –1537)
  • Geoffroy II de Beynac ( –1546)
  • Geoffroy III de Beynac
  • Guy I de Beynac (1643– )
  • Isaac de Beynac
  • Guy II de Beynac
  • Pierre de Beynac

The de Beynac family became extinct inthe male line in 1753 with Pierre the last marquis of Beynac[2] who married in 1727 Anne-Marie Boucher and had two daughters: Julie de Beynac married the marquis de Castelnau and Claude-Marie de Beynac married in 1761 Christophe Marie de Beaumont du Repaire.[3]. The family de Beaumont du Repaire added "Beynac" to its name and took the courtesy title of "marquis de Beaumont-Beynac".[4]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ministry of Culture: Château de Beynac (in French)
  2. ^ Bulletin de la Société historique et archéologique du Périgord, volumes 43 to 44, 1916, page 239.
  3. ^ Grand Armorial de France volume 2, page 116.
  4. ^ Charondas A quel titre, Les Cahiers nobles, 1970.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°50′26″N 1°08′48″E / 44.84056°N 1.14667°E / 44.84056; 1.14667