Butte de TurenneButte de Turenne
©Butte de Turenne|KOKEL Jean-Luc


A place frozen in time and history

As the beating heart of the viscountcy of the same name for almost 1000 years, Turenne is a village for those in the know. A trip here is all about unearthing architecture and anecdotes true to the history of the area, going at your own pace, joining a guided tour or an interactive historical adventure in costume…

A quiet place

Some villages may have fallen victim to “overtourism”, but Turenne certainly isn’t one of them. The peace and quiet that reigns over the squares and lanes climbing up to the castle ramparts in one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France is actually… surprising.

So we’re in two minds here: the site deserves more recognition but it’s so nice to have this big slice of the region’s history just for us whilst we’re here.

We don’t dwell on it and decide to make the most of the good fortune that we could sense as we arrived on the Causse to views of the castle ruins then, as we got closer, the cascade of slate-roofed houses clinging to the side.

From entryways to fortifications, the past lives on 

We’ve got the message loud and clear… If you want to hear what the stones have to say, you need to rewind and meet the dynasties that ruled over the viscountcy: the Comborn dynasty who founded the town in the 10th century and later fought in the Crusades, Raymond de Turenne, Comminages, Beaufort and La Tour d’Auvergne dynasties bringing us up to Louis XV’s reign. The king of France took exception to the independence, grandeur and decadence of a free viscountcy.

Let’s close our eyes… The château right at the top. Ramparts built straight onto the cliff all around us. Knights and noblemen living in the houses at the foot of the ramparts. Shops and workshops with doors set in the ramparts further down.

Let’s open our eyes… Nothing’s changed! Almost… The Turenne viscounts’ power is still evident today between César Tower and the keep, nicknamed the Tower of Treasure, interspersed with a sprawling panoramic garden and ruins from the medieval fortress.

It all overlooks a village whose buildings changed with the centuries and wars that left their mark here… All that remains is a fortified gate and the ramparts at the bottom are almost invisible now… The calvary cross on the cliff is actually the mullion from a dismantled window.

Rest assured: we kept our eyes peeled and couldn’t find anything that stood out from modern times.

We love... 

– The village is the epitome of “unspoilt” and the buildings have been beautifully restored.

– The little intra-muros village is closed to road traffic (except for residents).

– The interactive evening tour (before nightfall as there are no street lights in the village) in costume is a real treat.

The guide and participants are part of the story with predetermined roles to perform (read) sketches exploring Turenne’s history: the castle that became a stone quarry, how the viscountcy escaped the French kingdom’s authority, what happened at the Grenier de la Rente, Turenne’s conversion to Catholicism, the arrival of the Capuchin monks, the different geometry of fortifications and… tales galore.

The adventure starts at the bottom of the village at Tourist Information on the Marchadial… aka Place du Foirail.

Useful information

Visit Château de Turenne
The château is open all year. For further information, please call the château on +33 (0)5 19 31 02 68 or Tourist Information on +33 (0)5 55 24 08 80.

  • Opening dates and times

APRIL-OCTOBER: 10.30am-6pm
MAY*/JUNE/SEPTEMBER: 10.30am-7.30pm Sunday-Thursday and 10.30am-9.30pm Friday & Saturday
JULY-AUGUST: 10.30am-9.30pm
NOVEMBER-MARCH: 10.30am-5pm at the weekend, bank holidays and half term.

  • Tickets

Adult: 7.90€
Child (under 18), student, jobseeker, disabled visitor and groups (min. 12 ppl): 5.90€ on presentation of ID
School groups (min. 15 children): 5 € (1 free group leader).
Under 5s: Free

Available for partial or full private hire for groups outside opening times.