Day Five: Beynac-et-Cazenac

Disclaimer: This will not be edited until I return home from France.

As Raven and I continued south, the terrain changed considerably. Gone were the vast open fields of the Loire Valley.  Now we were travelling through moderate and steep hills which brought us to the Dordogne River. I will clarify that this region has been the most beautiful thus far. I am in love with the Loire Valley, but there is just something magical about the villages along the Dordoge, many of them set into the cliffs and caves.

Before moving on further, please watch this short clip that shows the view which greeted me as I stepped out of the car. You can CLICK HERE.

This town was magnificent. Perched on top of these medieval homes was a castle which was taken over by Richard in 1189 and held for him by his mercenary captain Mercadier (mentioned in the last post) until 1199 when Richard died.  Mercadier, in fact, married the heiress of the castle.  Unfortunately, Mercadier would not long after follow his lord into the grave; he was assassinated in 1200.

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The climb to the castle took us through the left-portion of the town (which was the location for the movie “Chocolate” starring Johnny Depp.) and up the mountain. Every home was made from stone and stunning.  As I made the climb, I could imagine how daunting it would be for an invading army. Still, Richard had been able to take the castle.

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I would hate to be the enemy, receiving some attention in the form of arrows and boiling liquids.

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Upon paying a small entry fee, Raven and I were mesmerized by the sheer walls.  The only thing which was a distraction was the restoration occurring in various spots of the castle. The view, however, was breathtaking.

Once inside, Raven and I were able to study the weaponry of the day, very much like the weapons I handled at the Chateau du Forges.

From these windows, soldiers would keep an eye our for approaching enemies.

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These narrow openings allowed for soldiers to aim at a large amount of space but leave them fairly protected.

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When the Hundred Years War came around, the river was the border separating the French (this side) and the English on the other side. Within view were three other castles. One could imagine that the tension was probably like the present day border dividing Korea in two parts! Here is a photo where you can see two other castles.

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Raven did find some accurate artifacts that had yet to be labeled.

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Of course, I did have to sit on a medieval toilet. I assume whatever was deposited simply dropped to the ground below.

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Once we got to the top, the view…. well, just CLICK HERE if you wish to see what we saw!

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The castle did have some renovations in the Renaissance period.

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There is a common story that staircases always twist counter-clockwise to aid to give the defending fighter an advantage. This has been debunked.
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We are pretty high up, based on the size of that man below.
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Guard room

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Amazing view
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If these stairs could tell stories! So many people have tread upon them.

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The kitchen
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Love the idea of storing weapons at the table in a way that they don’t all fall over!
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Actual helms from hundreds of years past…

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Stairs no longer in use.

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