Chateau de Beynac, Dordogne

Chateau Beynac stands out as a favourite among the many along the Dordogne River -this is in part because Beynac itself is a pretty village, and in part because the castle towers dramatically over the river and village and is visible from so many places.

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Chateau de Castelnaud, Dordogne

On the southern side of the Dordogne River, between Domme and Beynac, Castelnaud is another magnificent castle, with the anticipated splendid views across miles of countryside.

This is the most visited chateau in south-west France, both for the castle itself and the associated displays in the museum. And rightly so.

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Chateau de Biron, Lot et Garonne

Château de Biron, set amidst lovely countryside on a steep hill, is visible from many parts of the region. From 1189 the castle stayed in the Gontaut family for 24 generations, until the early 20th century.

Over the course of the centuries many generations of the family added extensions and fortifications to the castle.

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Chateau de Bonaguil, Lot

'It's so perfect that it seems ridiculous to describe it as a ruin' was how Lawrence of Arabia described the Château de Bonaguil. Never used as a defensive castle, Bonaguil is perhaps the most magnificent folly in France.

Hugely reinforced to defend a hunchback tyrant called Brengon from an enemy that no longer existed, the castle fell into disrepair and by the 18th century was sold for 100 francs and a sack of walnuts.

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Chateau des Milandes, Dordogne

Chateau des Milandes was built in 1489. It was left to fall into ruin during the French Revolution but restored in the 19th Century when it was bought, in the 1930s, by the legendary Josephine Baker.

The chateau is one of the prettier of the chateaus in this area and is surrounded by a very pleasant garden. The chateau illustrates the transition from gothic to Renaissance architecture with features inside from both eras. Inside the large windows let in plenty of light?

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