The stunning Chateau de Castelnaud is of one of the best known and most visited chateaux in the region, if not in France. It should definitely feature on your must-visit chateaux in the Dordogne! It stands proudly above the village of Castelnaud and the Dordogne river with a view to match. It was at the heart of much conflict with its neighbour, the Chateau of Beynac, and was involved in a tug-of-war between the English and the French during the 100 year war. The French eventually regained control in 1442 following a 3 week siege.
Our Top Tips for Visiting the Chateau de Castelnaud
- The castle gets very busy during peak season and we strongly recommend that you get there early to avoid the crowds. In fact, as an incentive, the castle offers discounted tickets for visits before 1pm.
- There are many fun workshops for children during the (French) school holidays so be sure to check the website before your visit for timings if you’re travelling with kids. They’ll love learning how to shoot a crossbow or taking part in a sword fight.
- There are many other demonstrations that will delight young and old including the firing of a trebuchet, a blacksmith’s work and the presentation of the defensive equipment of an arquebusier.
- Entrance for children under the age of 10 is free and there is also a discounted ticket if you’re planning on visiting the nearby Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac too.
- The site isn’t very pushchair friendly so we recommend taking a baby carrier if you’re travelling with babies. Pushchairs are to be left in a designated area next to the tower.
- You can park in the castle car park – for a fee – or alternatively, park in the free municipal car park at the foot of the village. There is ample space and you’ll be in for a treat as you wind your way up the cobbled streets to reach the castle. It’s a fairly steep incline so not necessarily suitable for people with mobility issues and young children (although they can always climb on Mum or Dad’s shoulders!).
- At the end of your visit, head back down to the village, grab yourself a sandwich at the Maison Carrée bakery and find a spot to relax and chomp on your baguette. There are a number of picnic tables next to the river although they fill up quickly!