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Château de Montal : a unique Renaissance Castle in the Dordogne Valley
A product of the French Renaissance period, this 16th century castle was created between 1519-1534, as the Renaissance swept through art and architecture throughout the country. The result is a château that exudes exquisite French charm and is a must see on your trip through the Dordogne Valley.
Saved from the ravages of time
In the intervening centuries the château had fallen into partial ruin until it was purchased in the 19th century by the avid art collector and rich industrialist Maurice Fenaille. Due to Fenaille’s wealth and extensive contacts in the art world, he set about reacquiring the contents of the château which had been stripped and sold off. In doing so he reunited the original furniture, tapestries, statues and decorative ornaments and friezes of the castle and commissioned exact copies of the objects that he couldn’t acquire. He later gifted the castle to the French state.
A female footnote from history
Unusually, the Château de Montal was designed and built to the specification of a woman, the Lady of Montal -Jeanne de Balsac. Her project was never fully realised before her death and the castle subsequently fell into disrepair. Completely restored in 2016, the château is a key example of Renaissance architecture in the Dordogne Valley. Scattered throughout the castle, in sculptures and ornamental motifs are tributes to Jeanne Balsac’s lost son, Robert de Montal, killed in action during the Renaissance Wars of Italy in the 1500s.
The château has since been carefully and faithfully restored to its former glory and reopened to the viewing public in 2016. With regularly spaced mullioned windows, high ceilings and elegant rooms it is like a film set in real life. The château simply oozes refined elegance and as you start to explore it you will feel more and more immersed in a time from another world.
You have the option of discovering the castle on your own or opting for a guided tour. A map and explanation in English is available. Make sure to visit the adjoining symmetrical French Renaissance clipped hedge garden too.