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Beynac-et-Cazenac, Perigord Noir

Beautiful village close to the eastern border of Dordogne and the Lot

featured in Towns & villages Updated

The village of Beynac-et-Cazenac is thought to date back to the 12th century when its imposing cliff top château was constructed.

Strategically located on the Dordogne river, and held by Richard the Lionheart, Château de Beynac is a classic fortified example of medieval architecture.

The pretty cobbled streets have been immaculately restored to retain its typical honey-coloured stone walls and slate roofs. The narrow streets lead upwards to the château and the walk certainly works up an appetite - more for an ice cream thank anything else and luckily there is a little garden terrace café half way up, one more after that and yet another opposite the castle entrance. Good for staying hydrated as you climb the steep streets in the summer heat.

The approach by river is truly impressive and this is another place where gabare tours are popular. Relaxing on a boat trip certainly makes a nice change from the walk uphill! Lasse Hallström's film, Chocolat, was filmed here and you can certainly imagine the dreamy country life that they enjoyed.

History & Culture in Beynac-et-Cazenac

Much of the history centres around the château at its summit and can be discovered in the château itself. The area has been populated since the Bronze age and was much sought after due to its 'naturally' protected location and the claim to it has created many pages in the history books.

Hélie de Beynac, the first known and recorded lord, installed the first fortified presence (Castrum) in 1050. After eight centuries of history, many battles, sieges and rulers through the ages, the line of the Beynacs disappeared in 1811. The last heiress, Marie-Claude, married Christophe de Beaumont in 1761 and upon her death in 1811 all that was left was the village and its château.

Sights & Attractions in Beynac-et-Cazenac

The town of Beynac-et-Cazenac is a sight in itself, a beautiful example of a medieval town with cobbled streets and stunning architecture. Part of the Valley of five Chateaux the castle, Chateau de Beynac, is the crowning glory and sits high on the cliff above the town and the river. Part of the ramparts here are being renovated so it will be great to be able walk around them once this work is complete.

Things to do in Beynac-et-Cazenac

There are plenty of activities in the area including those on land, on the water and even in the air. This is a beautiful part of the country to explore and taking a leisurely canoe down the river is perhaps one of the best. But if you fancy an extra special treat then a sunrise ride in a hot air balloon is hard to beat!

Where to stay in Beynac-et-Cazenac

This is a small village with tight narrow streets that wind ever skywards, so you will find that there aren't too many hotels to choose from. For the full Dordogne experience you might want to consider a rather charming B&B and there are a few of these tucked away in the forest.

How to get to Beynac-et-Cazenac

Situated in the heart of the Perigord Noir and part of the Valley of Five Châteaux, Beynac is situated on the banks of the Dordogne not far from La Roque-Gageac and only a 10-15 minute drive from Sarlat-la-Caneda.


Map of the surrounding area