The village of Beynac is a must in the Périgord Noir. Its 12th century castle is one of the best preserved and most authentic in the region, and offers breathtaking views of the valley of the 5 castles and the Dordogne river. The walk in the village is also to do because it has preserved all its authenticity.
At the heart of the Périgord Noir, clinging to one of the most beautiful cliffs of the Dordogne valley, the medieval village of Beynac-et-Cazenac, ranked one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France, offers a page of history.
The origins of Beynac, contrary to appearances, are not medieval but older. It is indeed from 2000 BC. JC that the Bronze Age populations choose this site to settle there. Remains have been found near the Archaeological Park. The Gauls also occupied it to control the wine trade from Italy.
The castle, probably destined to watch over the Dordogne, was already in existence in the 9th century, when people from the North came up the river and sowed terror.
Simon de Montfort seized the castle at the beginning of the 13th century but the Beynac will recover their property thanks to the intervention of Philippe Auguste in 1217. The castle remains a family property until 1761, date of marriage of Marie-Claude de Beynac with Christophe de Beaumont. One of the descendants sells it in 1961.
At the time of the Hundred Years War, the fortress of Beynac was one of the strongholds French. The Dordogne served then as border between France and England; not far from there, on the other side of the Dordogne, the castle of Castelnaud was in the hands of the English.
The castle has often served as a setting for filming: Bertrand Tavernier's The Daughter of D'Artagnan in 1994, Jean-Marie Poiré's Les Visiteurs II (The Halls of Time) in 1997, and Luc Besson's Jeanne d'Arc in 1999.
On August 15, 1827, the village of Cazenac, located 5 km away, is attached to Beynac by a prefectural decision ratified by a royal decree.
At the edge of the fortress, the village is organized around an enclosure, partitioned by several fortified doors. Several districts appear: Barri de la Cafourque, Barri del Soucy (weavers' quarter) or the Port. It remains active until the nineteenth century and was a major stop Gabariers who went down the river to Bordeaux to transport various goods (staves, cereals...). In addition to trade, fishing and agriculture, hemp cultivation and the building industry (stone and woodwork) flourished from the Revolution until the mid-19th century.
The pleasure of strolling will take you from the castle - which is one of the most beautiful jewels of medieval architecture - to the old port by strolling the old cobbled streets lined with typical houses with blond facades topped with imposing slate roofs.
Everything lends itself then to a gourmet stop or a stroll on the Dordogne in barge.