Beynac

One of the most wonderful things about going to our home in France is to see the magical Chateau de Beynac. You drive along side of the Dordogne river round a bend in the road and there it is. Every time I experience this I get the Wow factor, your eyes start at the village at the bottom with its shops and restaurants, and then you are drawn upwards towards the Chateau perched high on the rocks. It is indeed like going back in time to the period of knights and chivalry. But I am an old romantic.

Beynac

The view from one of our favourite picnic spots

A little bit of history for you now. In the middle ages, Beynac was the seat of one of four baronies in the Perigord. With its narrow medieval streets and Chateau overlooking the river Dordogne the village has lived through many wars and was captured only twice, by Richard Coeur de Lion ( Richard the Lion Heart) and Simon De Montfort.

The Chateau has been used as a set for many films, and the village is equally camera-friendly with its paved streets and steps. There is a path up to the Chateau from the village which is worth the climb to see the views. But there is also a very handy road that takes you up to the Chateau.

Beynac

The 15th, 16th and 17th-century houses, shops and restaurants.
The road going upwards was used in the film Chocolate.

Beynac

Another fabulous view of Beynac, you can just see the troglodyte caves in the rock underneath the Chateau.

The 13th century chapel

The 13th century chapel

Beynac

Gorgeous views from the ramparts

A very large kitchen, you can just see the slope on the right that was used by the knights when they were on horseback. It gives a new meaning to the word, fast food.

The Kitchen at Château de Beynac

The Kitchen at Château de Beynac

The winding river Dordogne

The winding river Dordogne seen from the ramparts at Château de Beynac

The “showboats” are replicas of the flat-bottom boats that sailed along the ‘rivere esperance’ (river of hope), in the 19th century. They float 150 meters by the cliffs and down the river, taking in five of the areas Chateaus (Beynac, Castlenaud, Fayrac, Marqueyssac and Lacoste)

a cruise from Beynac.

One of the flat bottom barges on a cruise from Beynac.

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Castelnaud

About ten Kilometres from our home in France are the gorgeous castles of Castelnaud and Beynac, which face each other over the Dordogne River. Today’s blog is about Castelnaud, I shall write about Beynac in a later blog.

Castelnaud

Castelnaud seen from the bridge

 
First mentioned in 1214, when the Cathar owner was chased out by Simon de Montfort, its later rulers, the Caumonts, stuck with the English, who built the keep as a base to which they could terrorise the surrounding countryside. It is well worth a visit for its armoury, artillery tower, cannons, guns, crossbows, trebuchets, furniture and costume. There is a very nice restaurant, a café and several shops in the village (Castelnaud-la-Chapelle) near the castle.

This is another view taken from the opposite side of the castle, which clearly shows one of the trebuchet.

Castelnaud

Castelnaud

 
This is me trying to load one of the trebuchets. Trying is the right word.

A trebuchet

A trebuchet and me

 

A picnic below the castle

The river Dordogne runs past Castelnaud this picture was taken last September, the temperature had reached 28C, so we decided to take a break from painting the property to have a picnic.

The bridge at Castelnaud

The bridge at Castelnaud

 
In the tourist season canoeists take advantage of the beautiful views along the river,

Canoeists take advantage of the beautiful views along the river

Canoeists on the River Dordogne

 
We spent the time watching them go by while we had our picnic. It’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours

The dordigne-river

The River Dordigne at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle

 
One of the local wildlife on the banks of the Dordogne river.

Local Wildlife

Kirmit

Lake Garda in the bedroom

Well, we had decorated all of the bedrooms the previous year and drained all of the radiators for the cold winter period, however we did not expect Lake Garda on our return to our home in France the following May. We had been in our home about twenty minutes, Paul had turned on the water, when on looking up at the light fitting in our lounge said, “There is water coming from the light fitting”. At which point, he ran to turn everything off, and Adam and I ran upstairs. This is what we saw, an indoor Lake Garda, complete with a water fall.

Lake Garda in the bedroom

Lake Garda

The radiator had exploded because the small amount of water left in the bottom of the radiator had frozen during an intensely cold snap in the winter months -18C for nearly two weeks.

The bed had to be covered, on top and underneath and the two carpets pulled up and taken away. Paul ran to our friends for help, they in turn arranged for a plumber to come to inspect the damage. I cannot thank Loren and Jan enough in their help over the next few days we would have been lost without them.

Removing the sodden carprt

Starting to remove the sodden carprt

Underneath the carpets, (which I am sure was glued down with superglue) was a substance called screed (like a concrete skin), that only comes off a centimetre at a time.

Carpets seemd to be fixed with superglue

Carpets seemd to be fixed with superglue

This is sparky, (Paul), cutting through the radiator, even cut into four sections the radiator was so incredibly heavy it took two people to carry each section down stairs. We had to decorate once more and order a new radiator.

Sparky

Sparky