Visit of Bourdeilles in Périgord Vert: beyond the castles ...

Bourdeilles
Share Visit of Bourdeilles in Périgord Vert: beyond the castles ...
Visit of Bourdeilles  ...

Bourdeilles is a pretty little village in the Périgord Vert , one of the 4 baronies of Périgord , where the Dronne river flows peacefully. When you come to Bourdeilles, it is to admire its castle or rather its castles! While waiting for the visit of the tourist site , afterwards or simply for the pleasure of not doing like everyone else, come and visit the village of Bourdeilles , immerse yourself in its medieval past ... We go on a guided tour with Les Promenades d'Alex , a guide to bring this discovery to life, full of anecdotes and little secrets ...

The Dronne Bourdeilles


Photos of the article: © Guide du Périgord

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The history of Bourdeilles, its castles and its strategic position

Park in the large car parks near the Town Hall. Bourdeilles is a pleasant little village to visit on foot and in all seasons . From spring, take a picnic to enjoy it country-style, on the banks of the Dronne! We start the guided tour of the village facing a "postcard" view : the river, the castles and the church in the distance, we are so comfortable ... Today, I benefit from the knowledge of a guide: Les Promenades d ' Alex . The young man knows his subject well, since he was responsible and guide of the tourist site of Château de Bourdeilles for several years and this is only part of his knowledge and experience. Now he is an independent village guide.

To find out all about the walks and Les Promenades d'Alex, see its sheet on the Guide du Périgord, as well as our agenda.


Bourdeilles


We sit in front of this grandiose view , which was the scene of many quarrels ... You will notice that the castle and its ramparts are surrounded here, by a natural moat that is the river: practical! It was around the 10th and 12th centuries that the history of Bourdeilles began , when the four baronies of Périgord were founded : Bourdeilles, Biron, Beynac and Mareuil. With the arrival of a Bishop (here in Périgueux), the baronies are organized, because it takes 4 barons to carry the episcopal throne and protect the clergyman. If Périgord is a real battlefield throughout history and especially against the English , it is also the stronghold of the rivalries of these proud barons! Bourdeilles is located in the heart of Périgord Vert , on the road between Angoulême and Périgueux, just 20 minutes from the capital of Périgord Blanc . There was a first feudal castle at Bourdeilles, posted on the natural rocky outcrop . It was destroyed and right next to Géraud de Maulmont built the “ new castle ” and its 8-sided keep , more than 30 m high. He is then co-lord with his brother, they share (not without difficulty…) the administration of the goods and the work of the villagers .


Bourdeilles Castle
The Château de Bourdeilles, on the left the tower of the octagonal keep and on the right, the Renaissance building

We begin our stroll, heading towards the superb medieval bridge , with its 7 arches. Some no longer have their feet in the water, we understand that the Dronne has seen its bed shrink drastically! Above each pile of the bridge , a refuge in the shape of a prou boat, so that pedestrians admire the landscape and can let the merchants' carts pass. In the past, there was a tax when crossing this bridge ... There were even several in the village, this is how the Lords could build up their treasure: a tax on the banal oven (the ban), where everyone the villagers came to bake the bread, a right of use on the grain mill , which one guesses when crossing the bridge. There was also a right of passage for barges and other merchant vessels on the Dronne, which was an important waterway in the past.


The Bourdeilles Bridge
The Bourdeilles Bridge, on the Dronne
Bourdeilles Bridge
Spaces to rest, above each pile of the medieval bridge
The Moulin de Bourdeilles The Dronne
Bourdeilles banal oven
Le Four banal, with the Bourdeilles coat of arms at the top left: "Or with two griffon legs, gules, nailed sand,
placed one on top of the other in smuggling "

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Bourdeilles, a visit like in a history book

After the bridge , we branch off to the left and this is where our guide is invaluable: Alex can read stones and a simple alley with a bit of character turns into a history book! We admire together the semi-troglodyte dwellings , we have two perfect examples: a period house leaning against the limestone cliff and next to the rock shelters, and strange scars: holes of bowling (where came s 'embed the construction beams) and drip edges (where the ridge of the houses was). It is common to many cliffs of Périgord, you will see while walking there, especially in Périgord Noir.


Know how to make the stones speak, with the help of a guide to listen to their whispering ...
Bourdeilles rock shelter Bourdeilles rock shelters

Looking up, we can see the machicolations , loopholes and crossbeams , around the rampart and on the keep: it was indeed a defensive unit, ready to do battle! The castle and the village have made several trips back and forth between French and English domination. It was taken over in 1375 by Bertrand du Gueclin , a fine strategist, who will infiltrate , disguise himself and take back Bourdeilles by cunning, in 7 days with very few men!


Ramparts of Bourdeilles
We weren't kidding at the time!

We continue our walk along the Dronne, did you know that in summer, we can come canoeing there ? There is a base that rents boats. We pass in front of the Sénéchal's house, whose construction and elements extend from the 15th to the 17th century. The seneschals were officers in charge of the royal administration , it is they who managed the finances , the seigneurial justice. It is for this reason that his home is within reach of the Lord ...

We come face to face with a cavity closed east by a gate, one can imagine that the highwaymen had set up their lair there and were tricking for the pay of the Counts of Périgord in the 15th century, then stewards of the Castle. This gallery communicating moreover via a "spiral" staircase to the Garden of the Castle, which is located just above ... It is today a place where artistic exhibitions sometimes take place, will you be able to recognize the skeletons and skulls engraved in the soft limestone that borders the prison? We arrive in front of the entrance to the Château de Bourdeilles , I invite you to read and watch our video report, it was precisely Alex our guide at the time! You will see not 1 but 2 castles, the second being a Renaissance lodge, built by Jaquette de Montbron , wife of André de Bourdeilles , one of the two brothers (the other being Pierre) having recovered the castle in the 15th century . It is in the Italian Renaissance style, it is said that Queen Catherine de Medici gave 4000 crowns for its construction.


Cellars of the Château de Bourdeilles Entrance to the Château de Bourdeilles
Bourdeilles Castle
Curiously, the medieval castle is also called the "Château Neuf", because built after the feudal castle which has now disappeared, the Logis Renaissance is more or less at the place of the "Old Castle"!

We pass in front of the Church of Saint-Pierre ès Liens , which depended on Brantôme, we continue behind the church, where the Curé's Garden is located overlooking the river with a parapet and a magnificent view of all the castles, the bridge and the river. Go down to the Garden, which is the reproduction of a real cloister garden with ornamental, medicinal and tinctorial plants. We see a cave with cavities that were perhaps the host of feasts of yesteryear… Venture if you are not afraid of the dark!

Bourdeilles and its castle were looted during the Revolution , but a member of the Bourdeilles family recovers it in 1982. The last heir, for lack of funds, bequeaths it to the Department in 1962, which then grants it to a couple of passionate patrons : the Santiar-Bulteau . Together, they will furnish with their personal collection, with more than 700 period pieces of furniture, all the rooms of the Logis Renaissance! We can now visit the Castle and admire the two sets with their gardens and the furniture in question.


Bourdeilles
Climb to the top of the village to enjoy the prettiest view
Bourdeilles church
Bourdeilles church
Canoeing on the Dronne
Rent a canoe to explore the Dronne, in season
The Garden of the Curé of Bourdeilles The Grotto under the Curé's Garden
The Curé's garden and the adjoining cave

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Find out more and prepare your visit to Bourdeilles

  • Do not miss a walk in Bourdeilles, from the spring, there are nice little restaurants and in summer, the village is buzzing with activity, with a small market, a shop, a café on the terrace ... It is a perfect stopover for a day to take advantage of nature, to walk on foot in a beautiful village of Périgord.

  • Contact Les Promenades d'Alex , which organizes tours of Bourdeilles, Brantôme, Saint-Jean-de-Côle and Mareuil, you can take a walking card from Alex, who will take you to discover other places from the start of the tour. tourist season.

Did you like our report? find others on our BLOG of the Guide du Périgord. Join us on the Facebook page of the Guide du Périgord , we are also on Instagram @Guideduperigord


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