Castles and Citadels in the Dordogne - Lot

The Dordogne is characterized by a large number of castles. This may have two causes:

  • The centenary war took place to a large extent in the Dordogne so that many castles were built during that period;
  • Where in other areas the castles have decayed or decayed, relatively little has happened in the Dordogne. Castles and fortresses have been well preserved due to the climate, the building materials and because there was little economic innovation and everything remained the same.

You often come across the different names: Chateau, Manoir, Demeure, Gentilhommiere, Maison fortes, Palais. What is the difference now? A castle is sometimes referred to as Manoir, or Demeure, and a relatively simple building suddenly turns out to be a castle or palace.

Chateau, Maison fortes, Palais

A Chateau is a medieval term for a large and fortified house of a lone man: a nobleman who has the right to speak justice and collect taxes. When that nobleman had a home in the city, this residence was called a Palais.
They often had multiple homes, eg for the other family members. These houses often differed not in size but in location, it was located near a village (bourg). Such a house was called a Maison forte. It was the liege man, but no right was spoken and it was not his primary residence.

Manoir, Demeure, Gentilhommiere

A manor or a demeure is also called gentilhommiere (gentil homme = nobleman). These houses were mostly of noblemen but had a different character, a different purpose. Castles had a military character, a manor was in the sign and service of agriculture. In addition, the owners of a manoir or demeure had no right to collect taxes or to speak justice. Of course they were lord of the serfs and tenants.

  • Château de Milandes (Joséphine Baker)
  • Château de Losse
  • Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux
  • Château de Beynac
  • Château de Castelnaud
  • Manoir de Guisson
  • Château de Hautefort
  • Château de Puymartin
  • Château de Monbazillac
  • Château de Jumilhac
  • Château de Biron
  • Château de Bridoire
  • Château Forte de Reignac
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