Eleanor of Aquitaine was really something! First she marries a French king, later an English one. But she was much more than arm candy. Eleanor was a strong, smart woman who helped the Périgord region prosper, lived into her eighties (twice the average in those days) and was the mother of Richard the Lionhearted. Besides being King of England, Richard was the Baron de Beynac.

The Chateau de Beynac was bought in 1962 by Lucien Grosso who has restored it to the condition one sees today. I think this may be the best restoration, most authentic, I’ve seen. I don’t know who Grosso was, but he must have had plenty of money.

So – it’s mid-afternoon, it’s 95 degrees, and we’re about to climb up to the chateau.

Before we enter, there’s a chance to see where we were the day before with our canoe. Also notice the multilayer construction of the walls.

I think about the poor guys who were told to go up on top of that sheer cliff and build a castle.

The Keep was built in the 12th century in order to control the Dordogne river and the surrounding lands. The architecture is massive, square shaped and defensive. Few openings are visible and walls are thick.

This is the State room. The four Barons of Périgord (Beynac being one) would meet here.

The Salon dates from the seventeenth century. Accommodations had improved by then.

A typical residential room. Fire for warmth, window seats for light.

The armory. This is where the guards hung out doing whatever off-duty guards do.Perhaps sharpening their weapons.

This is really taking noble privilege to an extreme. What’s the game here? Does a person sit in the loo and wait for an unsuspecting peasant to walk below?

Two views of our canoe journey from the previous day.

In the highest tower, presumably the most difficult place to attack, lies the bedchamber of Richard the Lionhearted.

The Hall of Justice. Why is there a ladder that leads nowhere?

An odd thing in the second photo: It kind of looks like a trail of blood leading from the cabinet. This was not apparent in the room when I took the photo.

These stairs are not easy to climb or descend. Think how many footfalls were required to erode the stone steps.

The kitchen.

Mary Anne exits via the Barbican over a teeny drawbridge.


Remember the discussion of roofing in Sarlat? Here’s a close-up of one we passed on our way up to the Chateau. Also, a bit of narrative showing how the roof is constructed.

They must have hired an old cowboy to do the English text. Who else would translate aujourd’hui as nowadays?

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