Château des Milandes, part two

One of the highlights of Milandes is the Raptors Demonstration, which is found to the rear of the Château most afternoons from April until November and mornings too in mid summer, see the website for opening times.

We first watched the demonstration on our first visit to the Perigord in 2009 it was a cold and damp day in the autumn, but the demonstration was superb. This time it was a gorgeous sunny day with not a cloud in the sky, so we sat outside and looked up at the Château while we waited for the demonstration to begin.

The rear of Milandes showing the seating area.

The rear of Milandes showing the seating area.

I love gargoyles and these two are a superb example, as they tower over the many cages below them. Some of the large cages set into the walls house raptors.

I love gargoyles

I love gargoyles

The Eagle Owl in flight, this was a year old female which weighed three kg and has a wing span of 1.80m. It comes to get a reward of chicken after each flight.

The Eagle Owl takes flight

The Eagle Owl takes flight

Spotted Eagle Owl, it is one of the smallest birds at Milandes. Its wingspan is about 1.40 metres and her weight is about 750 grams and she is a little cutie.

Spotted Eagle Owl

Spotted Eagle Owl

There are also American Eagles, Falcons, Kestrels and Harris Hawks to name but a few of the birds of pray. Which are housed in cages in the park area of Milandes.

Needless to say it was a superb demonstration; the highlight for me was when the Eagle owl flew onto my arm, it was heavy, but fortunately for me so well behaved.

The park area

The park area

You can visit the official website at Château des Milandes

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Chateau Des Milandes, part one

This is by far one of my favourite Chateaus in the Perigord Noir, and because of this we did take quite a few photographs which I have divided into two sections-part one and part two. The first section relates to the house and owners of the Chateau and the second section to the raptors of Milandes.

This Renaissance beauty was built by Francois de Caumont for his bride, Claude de Cardaillac after she refused to live in “a drafty Castle”, which was Castlenaud. They decorated it in frescoes and sculptures which over the centuries have sadly disappeared.

Josephine Baker, Chateau Des Milandes

Josephine Baker, Chateau Des Milandes

In the 1930’s, while on holiday in the Perigord Josephine Baker spotted the dilapidated Milandes and fell deeply in love with the Chateau. Josephine Baker was a dancer in Paris, who danced her own version of the Charleston in really nothing more than small skirt of upturned bananas! The skirt you can see on display in the Chateau. Of all of the black Americans who came to France to escape racism she was the most successful. She purchased her dream castle and 250 hectares of land and used it during the Second World War to hide people wanted by the Nazis, earning her a medal for her work in the Resistance in the 1940’s. After spending millions of the restoration work of Milandes, she adopted thirteen children of every race and culture, her “Rainbow Tribe”. Which she hoped to show everyone that people can get alone no matter what their race or culture.

Chateau Des Milandes

Chateau Des Milandes

She fell so deeply in debt in the 1960’s that she was forced to sell her gorgeous home and went to live in Monaco under the patronage of Princess Grace. One of the saddest pictures I have ever seen is hanging in the kitchen it is of Josephine sitting on the steps of Milandes with her dog and a few carrier bags when she was refused entry to Milandes after it had been sold at auction for a fraction of the true value. (Link)

Unfortunately you can not take pictures inside Milandes, but I shall list just a few of the things that you see on the walk around the interior of the Chateau. Besides the magnificent stone work you see the displays of Josephine’s life, her costumes, medals, the decorated bedrooms and very diva bathrooms.

gardens in full bloom,

gardens in full bloom,

if you walk between the chapel and the Chateau down a small slope you come to the café which sells excellent coffee, cakes, lunches etc.

It was Josephine Baker’s 100th Birthday this year and The de Labarne family who own the Chateau have supported two projects entitled “Operation Josephine” the first project is a statue to her as a permanent reminder of her devotion to motherhood and the other project is “Maisha Africa, which involves plans to create a village for the orphaned and widowed mothers of Rwanda.

This bronze statue is in a clearing across the street from Parc Josephine Baker, at the foot of the hill on which stands Milandes.

bronze statue to Josephine Baker

bronze statue to Josephine Baker

You can see interior photographs at the official Chateau des Milandes website


Events:- Brocante and vintage car rally in Sarlat on the 30th November.
Christmas market in Sarlat starts in the first week of December with a concert on the 14th December with traditional songs.


Cream paint and the turquoise section of the house.

Cream paint

If you remember in my previous “blog” from last year we had to have a new radiator installed in my bedroom due to the fact that we had a “Lake Garda” episode after we turned on the cold water. After a while I noticed that due to the lake, cutting up of the old, very heavy cast iron radiator and the installation of the new radiator my skirting board was not looking good at all. A quick coat of paint over the dingy section was needed.

We had used up all of the cream paint, so new paint was needed, yet another trip to the DIY store. The paint we bought looked like it was the same colour when I started to paint only to realise that it was a different tone of cream after the paint dried. Not one for giving up easily and armed with an almost full tin of paint, I decided that all was not lost, I needed to paint all around the room, around the door and the French windows, and needless to say this job was not going to take a morning to complete!

Master bedroom with the new “cream” paint.

Master bedroom with the new “cream” paint.

The turquoise section

On our last visit we decided to turn our attention to the “turquoise” section of our home which is through the kitchen door to a hallway which leads to a pantry, boiler room, another room which we hope to turn into an office, the downstairs toilet and utility room and eventually out the courtyard at the back of the property. A lot of work, most of which will need to wait until we move to France because we would like French windows installed from the utility room to the courtyard. We can turn our hands to a variety of DIY but not fitting of French windows, experts need to be called in.

The pantry before we started to paint:-

Gas cylinders in the turquoise pantry.

Gas cylinders in the turquoise pantry.

And after:-

The cream room.

The cream room.

When we have time I would like shelves in this room for preserves and also a chest freezer for the times when the village is cut off from the outside world due to snow and ice, which it was two years ago.

Our side door and hallway, the kitchen door is on the right.

This will be our next job, roll on 2015

This will be our next job, roll on 2015

Picnic at Beynac

These pictures are for Mike and Bonnie who sent Paul and I photographs of their stay in the Perigord. The photographs look great, and thanks again. I was very pleased to hear that you like our “blog” and that it was helpful to you both in finding different places of interest. You must come and visit Paul and I after our move to France.

This is one of our favourite places for a picnic and we finally got to use our new picnic blanket. If you remember on a previous “blog”, we did try to have a picnic when we went to see the Tour de France but we had to eat in the car due to the raging storm outside. This time we were lucky, a gorgeous sunny day with not a cloud in the sky, perfect. Only one bit of embarrassment, when Paul and I were eating our lunch, a tourist boat came by very slowly and the people on the boat started to take pictures of us. So if anyone has a copy of the pictures, I am the very red faced person sitting on the stone bench.

Paul relaxing and watching the Dordogne flow by.

Paul relaxing and watching the Dordogne flow by.

I think this picture says it all

relax, chill out and enjoy the canoeists slowly going by.

Relax, chill out and enjoy the canoeists slowly going by.

The water is so clear you can see the fish.

The water is so clear you can see the fish.

The last picture shows the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn, with the lovely vibrant reds of the leaves just emerging on the trees.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Saint-Cyprien and the Yorkshire connection!

A French holiday is not complete without trips to a few of the markets in the Dordogne so after our “market fix” on Saturday in Sarlat I was ready for another market on the Sunday morning! Not as big as Sarlat but still one of the best markets is at Saint-Cyprien on a Sunday morning.

It is set out along the town’s main street, Rue Gambetta, which has above the more modern shop fronts and stripped canopies, elegant iron balconies and carved stone windows.

Market Day in Saint-Cyprien

Market Day in Saint-Cyprien

As we arrived, we were attracted to piles of vibrantly coloured baskets stacked high on trestle tables under the shade of the many parasols. Further along plates of cheese samples were offered to us by smiling fromagers and stalls displaying rainbows of peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, herbs, melons and strawberries.

Fresh herbs

Fresh herbs

The variety of fresh produce on offer; from vegetables to bread, cakes, wine, baskets, linen, clothes and shoes. A few of the shops are also open on a Sunday. We visited one that sells stone bathroom basins that we would like for our bathroom, once we move to Daglan.

A variety of fresh produce

A variety of fresh produce

We did buy vegetables, fruit and wine, plus, on another stall, a few birthday cards from a Yorkshire man who had moved to the area twelve years ago, he was very interesting to talk to, I was explaining that I was also from Yorkshire, only about thirty minutes away from where we used to live. Even the cards were made in Yorkshire, small world.

After walking up and down the market we were ready for one of our favourite pass times; coffee at one of the many cafes, and watch the world go by on a gorgeous sunny morning.