The Dordogne has to be one of the most beautiful and magical regions in France. It’s a real fairytale landscape, lush green valleys, ancient woods, tiny roads which twist and turn and then a glimpse of something extraordinary: a hilltop village, a slowly turning waterwheel, the turrets of a chateau just beyond the trees. It’s a region rich in history and its landscape is littered with monuments to the power struggles of the past: there are incredible chateaus everywhere, some are in private hands, some you can visit and some you can even stay in.
Here are a Few Chateaus in Dordogne to Daydream About
Chateau De Monbazillaclong
If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll recognize the name immediately, the three and a half thousand hectares of vines which surround the chateau have been producing one of the most famous sweet wines in the world for centuries. The chateau sits high above the surrounding countryside and you approach it down a long straight road. As you can see its external appearance is pure fairy-tale; turrets, arrow slits, pointed roofs, moat, but when you get inside there are beautifully light and airy Renaissance rooms with gorgeous wooden floors and seventeenth-century furniture.
Chateau De Beynac
This is one of the most dramatic of the Dordogne’s chateaus. Crouching above the river it’s big, bold and brutal. In the guardroom, lit by flickering oil lamps you get a real sense of what life in a medieval chateau might have been like.
Chateau De Hautefort
Whichever way you approach, this chateau is an absolutely stunning sight. This is a much more elegant and sophisticated building than Beynac. Your approach is through amazing topiary gardens, over a drawbridge and into a Renaissance courtyard where all is symmetry and harmony. It’s not hard to imagine yourself as royalty in such surroundings.
Chateau De La Malartrie
A modest little chateau but one that is in a stunning location. High above the Dordogne River, it overlooks La Roque Gageac, one of the most beautiful villages in France. Today, the Chateau is available to rent out in its entirety and is a far cry away from its history as a leper hospital. With an average price of around £720/night this is one of the more expensive estate properties in the region, however, La Malartrie’s elevated location above the Dordogne River offers an unmatched vantage point to enjoy the banks of the Dordogne.
Chateau Des Milandes
Although this chateau was built in 1489 it’s famous for its twentieth-century occupant, for this was the home of jazz legend and one of the first black women superstars, the extraordinary and wonderful Josephine Baker. She came to live in the chateau in 1940 and subsequently spent all her money restoring it. And what a restoration, it’s still got all the fairy-tale turrets and pointy roofs and gargoyles but it’s also got amazing Art Deco bedrooms and bathrooms. You can also see the notorious dress made from bananas which Josephine Baker wore at the Folies Bergere in 1928.
Looking for more beautiful Chateaus in France? Check out these Chateaus in the Loire Valley.