A thousand and one castles in the Dordogne?

More than a thousand medieval and renaissance castles, manor houses and strongholds

Why is Périgord known as the land of a thousand and one castles?

There aren't actually 1,000 and 1 castles in the Dordogne - the phrase has a certain advertising ring to it - but the fact is very real: if the number of castles built in France is estimated at just over 10,000, the Dordogne has around 11% of them, making it the richest département in France in terms of castles.

A thousand and one castles in the Dordogne?

Why is this country literally covered in castles?

The Hundred Years' War, which lasted for over a century (1337 - 1453) pitted the French against the English, began with a battle at Bergerac and ended at Castillon la Bataille. In short, it was in the Dordogne (Périgord at the time) that most of the quarrels between the English and the French were fought, and the two kings waged their wars there by granting privileges and the right to build to all lords who agreed to swear allegiance to them. Whereas elsewhere, the kings were vigilant when it came to authorizing fortifications that could turn against them, here they accepted a great many.

Parallel lines of castles facing each other on either side of valleys or riverbanks can also be clearly seen, such as the Castelnaud castle long occupied by the English, which faces the château de Beynac which served as a stronghold for the French.
The castles of the Middle Ages were not subsequently dismantled, serving as dwellings for the baronies who gradually left them, without destroying them, to build more modern and comfortable Renaissance-style residences.

Castelnaud Castle

Château de Beynac

Today, many castles are open to visitors. Find out which castles are open to visitors in our section : The castles of Dordogne Périgord.

To find out more, click here. almost exhaustive list of Dordogne castles

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