Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beynac-et-Cazenac, France - June 26, 2011

Beynac-et-Cazenac, the result of merging Beynac with Cazenac in 1827, is a village of about 500 people built on the cliff face below the Château de Beynac which completely dominates the landscape. Situated in the Dordogne département the castle is one of the best-preserved and best known in France.
The river Dordogne flows by the foot of the limestone cliff and the castle was built in the 12th century by the barons of Beynac to control access to the valley. since the cliff face would discourage an assault from that side of the castle, the defences were built up behind the chateau with double crenellated walls and double moats.
At the time of the Hundred Years' War, the fortress at Beynac was in possession of the French and the river defined the border between France and England.
On the opposite bank of the river, the Château de Castelnaud was held by the English. Both changed hands several times over the centuries but usually through guile and treachery rather than direct military assault due to their extremely effective defences.
In 1962 Lucien Grosso, 1956 French Olympic Bobsleigh competitor, bought the castle and restored it and it has served as a location for several movies since that time including Les Visiteurs in 1993, La Fille de d'Artagnan in 1994, Ever After in 1998 and Jeanne d'Arc in 1999. The village itself was used as a location for the film Chocolat in 2000. Pictures of this extraordinary attraction here.

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