These 3 villages are all rooted to the banks of the famous Dordogne river, which has provided life, safety and shelter to millions of people since medieval times and even before.
The Castles at Beynac and Castelnaud Lachapelle have defended the Dordogne against invaders since the turn of the 12th Century. Being built on the edge of a sheer cliff face, it was only necessary to defend from 1 side; which was strategically very important. During the ‘100 years war’ Beynac was owned by the French and Castelnaud was owned by the English. Several battles took place (often unsuccessfully) with the majority of takeovers coming through ruse rather than brute force.
Views from both Castles are panoramic, overlooking the Dordogne and all of the surrounding flora and fauna. There is a unique opportunity to overlook this steep landscape from both the highest and lowest points; a five minute drive takes you to the small town of La Roque-Gageac, a troglodyte village on the very banks of the River Dordogne with absolutely spectacular views and buildings to excite and tantalise your eyes. The 15th century Manoir De Tarde, the houses built in to the cliffs, the history of the early 20th century cliff fall, the tropical gardens or the myriad of shops to purchase memories of your trip, La Roque Gageac has it all. It is also possible to take a boat cruise on the river, passing by both Castlenaud and Beynac.
This area is also a location for one of our favourite picnic sites, sitting only feet from the river whilst taking refuge from the heat of the summer under some walnut trees and a beautiful bridge.