Yesterday’s post closed with a photograph of Château de Beynac, as seen from the heights of its opposing neighbour, Château Castelnaud. As a refresher, here’s that view of Beynac again:
The Château de Beynac is arguably the most imposing castle in the Valley of the Five Châteaux, which is itself a highlight of the Greater Daglan Area. Personally, I love the fact that the château was occupied by Richard Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, who went on to become King of England — despite the fact that he was a francophone who knew almost no English.
Quick history lesson: Richard was the third son of Henry II and the amazing Eleanor of Aquitaine (one of history’s most notable women). He was born in 1157, and was King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. Richard conquered Château de Beynac, and occupied it for some time, in between heading off on the Crusades and making his name as a fierce (some would say, excessively fierce) warrior. If you’re interested in this period, be sure to rent the movie The Lion in Winter (1968), in which Richard is played brilliantly by a young (and loutish) Anthony Hopkins. (In the film, his Mom is played by Katharine Hepburn, while Dad is Peter O’Toole. Priceless.) And now back to the views.
First, a look at the inside of the castle grounds:
Next, a look at a corner of the castle structure, with the vista beyond and below the château:
This next photo highlights the sheer size, strength and presence of the château:
This next photo offers a view outward from the castle — but it also shows how the castle was virtually carved into the cliffside, with multiple terraces running down from the heights (some 200 metres above the Dordogne):
And now, one of the best views in all the Greater Daglan Area — looking out over the Dordogne River valley and its forested hills:
And last but certainly not least, a view straight down from the castle to the village and the river, which is still spotted with end-of-season tourists in their rented canoes:
Breath-taking stuff, isn’t it?