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.
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.
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.
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.
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.