DORDOGNE VALLEY - ST.CYPRIEN, BEYNAC, CASTELNAUD, LA ROQUE-GAGEAC
From Les Eyzies the D706 affords the most picturesque route to
St Cyprien, which has a market on Sundays. And from there along the Dordogne
Valley to Beynac - here is one of the great historic castles of France. Perched
high on bare rock over the Dorodgone, certainly one of the most dramatically
sited castles in the region. Along the river, further down is the feudal castle
of Castelnaud., which has a Medieval war Museum. The battlements afford the
most tremendous views back to Beynac in one direction and to La Roque Gageac
in the other.
Web site: www.castelnaud.com
There is also a Château de Castelnaud many kilometres upstream, equally magnificent.
Whilst in this area it is worth passing the Château de Fayrac, with a drawbridge, massive guard tower and a host of pepperpot towers, ramparts and gables. Continue to Château des Milandes, built in 1489, but which acquired much fame in 1948 when the cabaret star, Josephine Baker bought it and brought up a multi-racial clan of adopted children there. The chateau contains a collection of fine furniture, much of it 18th Century and memorabilia of its former inhabitants.
From Castelnaud, cross the river and drive to the picturesque village of La Roque-Gageac. The houses are set into the cliff overlooking the river. To reach the houses and the 16th Century church climb up from the riverside road steps. Along the paths palms, ferns and cactus bloom, giving a tropical feel, a tribute to the sheltered, if perilous, position of this lovely village. From here enjoy a leisurely boat ride down the Dordogne.
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