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Chateau de Beynac vs Chateau de Castelnaud in the Dordogne area

We are going to be doing the driving loop suggested by Rick Steves. I don't know that we will have time to go into both of these, but not sure. How much time do they each take to go through? If you had to pick one, which would you recommend? We will be traveling with a 6 year old.


Posted by
481 posts

Although I stayed in Beynac and enjoyed it thoroughly, and had an amazing duck salad at the restaurant just beside the Chateau, the Chateau itself underwhelmed me. It is mostly blank cold stone with a few random medieval implements haphazardly thrown in. The view from the top of the Chateau is amazing though.

I probably stayed about an hour.

Posted by
399 posts

Oh, definitely Castelnaud with a 6 year old. It's full of exhibits / demonstrations of what it was like to actually live there centuries ago. There are extensive models of siege machines (which I thought were all called catapults, but they are not). However, the displays are not entirely focused on war.

We did not go into Chateau Beynac because I've read several other comments like that posted by Darrenblois (that it is underwhelming).

Posted by
11704 posts

I visited both and liked both. As I recall Castelnaud had more displays and decorations so that may be the better of the two. I went to Beynac first and still wanted to see another castle in the area.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for the advice, I think we will plan to visit Chateau de Castelnaud and if time see the Chateau de Beynac.

Posted by
4204 posts

Good choice, based on my recollection from ten years ago. Castelnaud thrilled my inner six-year-old with lots of exhibits and models of catapults and such. Beynac was very good but not as "hands on." I'd allow a couple of hours at Castelnaud, maybe not so long at Beynac.

Posted by
1182 posts

Castelnaud was a delight to visit and not as crowded as Beynac for me. They let you fire the trebuchet at the nearby town!

Posted by
101 posts

Yet another vote for Castelnaud...but if you can do both, I’d start at Beynac.

Beynac was partially under construction when we were there last September so some areas were closed, but there were large areas open & it was fun peeking in at the reconstruction team meeting in one of the rooms, discussing what they were doing next. Great views and a little area with food, gelato, etc. just outside.

Castelnaud was magnificent & had a good tour in English showing off the trebuchet & other “weapons of war” as the guide explained the 100 Years War. Again, great views and food / souvenirs available outside. Be wary of GPS guidance to Castelnaud...ours tried to take us down a pedestrian path! Maybe if you enter “Castelnaud parking” you’ll have better luck...or maybe follow the signs along the road?

It is a beautiful area...enjoy it!