The Castles in Dordogne Périgord
The Dordogne is mostly referred to as the 1001 castles' Country.
Fortified Castles in the Dordogne Périgord
In 1000 AD, the number of castles increased rapidly because of the rather insecure atmosphere and the numerous wars. They were often massive, huge and built with several defensive lines, many war machines, and traps for assailants. The best example is Castelnaud Castle, with its Middle Age war museum. Both, the Herm Castle (Flamboyant Gothic), the fortress of Miremont and the Commarque Castle are also impressive examples of this period of time. The Lord and his family used to live in the dungeon, which was the main place of the castle. It exhibited the Lord's wealth to the local inhabitants and the enemies. You can see a good example of a dungeon while visiting the Beynac Castle. The Herm Castle was chosen by Eugène Leroy for his novel entitled Jacquou le Croquant. The Maison forte de Reignac is a fortified cliff.
Castles strongly influenced by the Renaissance
The so-called peace and the progress in war techniques rendered most of the fortifications obsolete. As a consequence, many lords decided to transform or rather build new Castles. Although these new castles kept some defensive characteristics, they turned to be more prestigious than military. Following the example of Francis the Ist, many lords in the Périgord tried to reproduce or follow the Renaissance Style and influence. The castles became lighter so as they can become real residential places. Today, we can admire Renaissance front facades with large openings giving a view over the nature around. The best examples are Fénelon, the Milandes, Puymartin and Losse.
17th & 18th century architecture, the exceptional Hautefort Castle
The classical era more or less passed the Périgord by, with the exceptions of Hautefort Castle, which is a wonderful example of classical architecture, and Sauveboeuf Castle. In Hautefort, the tall central building with a lodge on either side, each of which is flanked by a wing terminating in a round tower topped with a lantern dome. Sauveboeuf Castle also contains a small Prehistory museum.