Published: September 17th 2009September 17th 2009
Today we were off to more small towns in the Dordogne to infiltrate some more castles. Most of the castles we have seen have been more elegantly decorated homes with good security than a true castle for protecting a village. Castlenaud promised to be that fortress we were looking for.
It was a true fighting machine and was built in the early 12th century. The castle was sized many times and turned over power at least 20 times during the 100 years war. We saw cannons, gun ports, towers, armored suits, trebuchet and tons of other weapons of warfare. It was amazing to see all of that effort went into protecting this small village. We saw a jet fighter scream overhead and thought how ironic. Things really haven't changed that much have they?
We needed some serenity from all of the warfare so we visited the nearby gardens of Marqueyssac. Built in the 17th century it was completely restored in 1997. It was a formal Italian inspired garden with over 150,000 boxwoods planted throughout the 6 km of trails. They created whimsical topiary and sculptures from the boxwoods. There were also sculptures and water features scattered throughout.
The highlight really wasn’t the garden itself, but the view you saw of the Dordogne from the gardens. Spectacular views about 600 feet above the river and overlooking the entire valley. You could see cliffs, farms, vineyards, castles and cave dwellings from the top. A place you could sit all day.
There are more photos below