and the Château de Beynac

Step back in medieval time when lords ruled the land with a visit to the stunning village of Beynac-et-Cazenac
and the castle of Beynac above it.

Beynac- In the Footsteps of the Lionheart

Built on top of a cliff that dominates the village of Beynac-et-Cazenac, the castle of Beynac boasts views fit for a King. Where
once attacking armies crossed the Dordogne river below, now you will see the occasional canoeist drifting by.

Witness to countless sieges and conflicts during the Middle Ages and the Hundred Years’ War between France and England
during the 14th and 15th centuries, Beynac castle was the frontline dividing the opposing forces. This strategic stronghold
is stunningly preserved and remains one of the most impressive fortified châteaux of the Dordogne Valley.

An Impregnable Fortress

Built in the 12th century in a strategic position high atop a cliff, this immense feudal castle with thick defensive walls was built to repel attackers. A virtually impregnable sheer cliff protected the front side facing the Dordogne river. Moats and layers of defensive walls protected the rest with high stone watchtowers providing clear lines of sight of enemy positions.

You can see if for yourself as you climb through the towers and ramparts and look through the arrow slits, imagining the
archers pulling back their longbows, squinting through the narrow space in the thick stone walls and picking out a target in
the distance. How they could hit anything seems amazing today. Yet they surely did as the Hundred Years’ War between
England and France raged on and off again for a bloody century.

Richard the Lionheart, King of England, once walked the halls of this place. You too can climb the stone circular stairs leading to
the top of the 12th century keep and look out at the very same view, marvelling at how this medieval warfareshaped not only
France but also England.

What Lies Beneath

You can start your visit underneath the castle in the pretty village of Beynac-et-Cazenac. So pretty in fact that it has been
labelled as one of ‘The Most Beautiful Villages in France’. Lying right next to the Dordogne river, this village is characterised by
its ochre stone houses and stone roofs. There are some lovely restaurants and bars to take a break in before or after climbing
up the medieval cobblestone streets of the village that lead to the castle. It’s quite steep and can be slippery when it rains but
the view is definitely worth it no matter the weather.

Visiting the castle of Beynac

Open throughout the year (except for the month of January) you can visit this magnificent fortress from 10am to 7pm daily.
Audio guides are available in multiple languages, including English, and give you a unique insight into the history of each
nook and cranny of the castle. With its thick defensive stone walls, each aspect of the château, from the original keep,
guard’s room, or fortified towers, exhibits the architecture of medieval warfare. Discover the opulence of the private
quarters (dressed in tapestries and knight’s armour) or the banquet room that served the Lords of the castle who once
lived here.


good to know!

For those less able or less inclined, there is a back route to the castle, which takes you through Beynac-et-Cazenac. Just turn
into the main street of the town (where the tourist office is located), go straight on past the outskirts of the village and
follow the signs indicating Château de Beynac. You will eventually arrive at the top of the hill behind the castle and
from here it is just a short walk down the cobbled street to the entrance. The castle and its surrounding medieval village offers gorgeous views from all angles and a slice of history more than worth the visit.

Medieval on Film

The perfect setting

Shot extensively in Beynac castle and the surrounds of Sarlat, The Last Duel (2021), directed by Ridley Scott evocatively brought to life the fascinating tale of the last sanctioned duel in France.

Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Comer and Adam Driver The Last Duel found the perfect backdrop with this immaculately kept medieval fortress. A cinematic natural that other filmmakers had discovered before with the likes of Jean-Luc Besson’s Joan of Arc (1999) and Chocolat (2000) staring Juliette Binoche.