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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Château de Beynac

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The French feudal castle of 
Beynac,
built during the 12th and 13th centuries,
is surrounded by the medieval village of Beynac.


Beautiful blue shutters and stone-carved lintels line the stone-paved walkways
leading to the castle's moat and entrance.

Privately owned since 1962, the castle was restored and opened to the public.
Its fairy-tale architecture is captivating!  
So much so, the castle was the setting for the
movie Ever After, 
and the surrounding village was the setting for the movie Chocolat.
Ah, France....

In reality, the castle and surrounding village played pivotal roles in the
Hundred Years' War
between France and England.




High above the Dordorgne River, the castle was a French stronghold.


Even during wars and harsh times, French builders created beautiful
exterior doors, stone-carved dormers, tile roofs, and 
scalloped tile moldings along the roofline.
See this picture anywhere and one knows this is
French architecture!


Inside the castle, curved stone ceilings and arched windows...


Stone spiral staircases...


In late afternoon sun, light streams through the 
clear and blue leaded-glass windows
onto the spiral staircase.


Perhaps the most intriguing stairs are the ones worn down
by eight hundred years of people walking on them.

What lay outside the door obscured by the light at the top?
What did these climbers see?
Who else made the climb over the years?

Soldiers rushing to defend their castle,
servants trudging to work gardens on the terrace,
royalty walking to escape the darkness within the walls,
young lovers tripping up the stairs to enjoy a star-lit night,
elderly residents struggling upstairs to feel warm sunshine
on their faces one more time,
and
tourists panting to reach the top to see the glorious surrounding
countryside and winding river below.

Did any of the climbers ponder about those before them
or about those that followed them?


2 comments:

Sarah said...

What wonderful images! This posts has me longing for another trip to the French countryside. '-)

Diane said...

My husband and I were in Dodorgne in June. We didn't make it to Chateau de Beynac but saw many other castles, chateaus and abbeys. They are all amazing and leave me longing to move to the countryside of France! Thank you for the mini history lesson and beautiful photos!