Bourdeilles Castle is located only 20 minutes away from Périgueux, 10 minutes from Brantôme and yet, it is outside the traditional tourist routes. All the more reason to discover this little gem of History, nestled on a rock overlooking the Dronne River. An idyllic natural setting, in the heart of a lovely village, it is a tourist site that will interest all the family : It is open all year and hides not 1, but 2 castle ! I spent a family day there and now I’ll take you with me, so let’s go !
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As we get closer to the castle, we can see the Dronne River flowing peacefully and a lovely small stone bridge crossing it. Before or after the castle visit, cross the bridge to enjoy a delightful grassed area on the riverside. We had a picnic there. The entrance of the Castle is on the village side, the castle overlooks the village and the river : a strategic position, between a transit route and a natural barrier. At that time, you had to watch your back…
The banks of the Dronne River
A beautiful nature surrounding, the castle perched on its rock in front of the river
The solid rock foundations of the castle/i>
Once inside, there were so many things to see, we needed to be organised. We decided to do the things in chronological order : first we visited the 18th century dungeon with Alexandre, who is responsible for the site but who is also a talented and mischievous guide, Alexandre is full of interesting information that always grabbed the attention of the children. I have 3 children and they were fascinated by this tower « like in the movies » which stood before them. Yes, we are going to climb to the top ! We follow Alexandre for a nice climb of 127 steps (35 metres /115 feet high), which is fortunately split into 4 landings, where the history of the dungeon and medieval times of the site are recounted.
The inside court
127 steps, but it is easy, I promise, as there are four landings
With a good guide, the visits are fascinating !
At the top, there is a terrace. We enjoy a 360 degree view over the surrounding countryside. On one side the Dronne River and on the other the village and its lovely roofs scattered in the middle of the trees. If we look at the dungeon, we can see the second castle, the Renaissance castle that we will visit later. Why two castles ? In fact, the earliest traces of inhabitants date from the 12th century ; there was probably a first castle, then a second entity was built during the 13th century, this is the one including the dungeon where we are. The dwelling next to it dates from the 16th century, and it was probably built on the ruins of the first entity from the 12th century. It is now a plush and elegant dwelling, conceived by one of the first female architects : Jacquette de Montbron.
The panoramic terrace
Our second activity of the day is the medieval shield workshop. It takes place in a beautiful room at the first floor of the medieval castle, we go down from the dungeon.
The medieval castle
Naëlle welcomes us dressed up with a beautiful Period lady’s costume and invites us to sit around a table. We choose the shape, then the colours and finally the decorations of our masterpiece. We realise our piece with paint, stencils and cutting. The shield, which is also called a herald, represents the family coat of arms, a clan ; it is a distinctive or decorative element that was used on the battlefields to differentiate the individuals during battle.
The medieval shield workshop
Everybody is focused
We are proud of our work !
We can do all sorts of workshops in Bourdeilles Castle, the preparation of a medieval drink (the “hypocras”), the design of a hallmark or a calligraphy workshop.
We carry on with a second activity, this time it is a bit more sporty one : archery in the gardens of the Renaissance castle, on a terrace above the Dronne River. A superb setting !! The children follow the advice of the teacher and the oldest (workshop from 8 years old) manages to launch several arrows into the centre of the target.
Isn’t it a nice setting for the archery workshop ?
Joseph is right in the target !
Have you ever heard about Escape Games ? It is a very trendy team game where you must solve puzzles to get out of a room.
Do you know virtual reality video games ? It is also very trendy, equipped with an helmet and various controllers, we move in an artificial environment and we must perform certain actions to move on different game levels.
Putting up the game equipment
The Escape Game of Bourdeilles is unique and special as it combines two types of game in one : it is an Escape Game in virtual reality ! The innovation is that the action takes place in an existing site that we already visited : the rooms of the dungeon and the terrace.
Welcomed by Marie and her beautiful costume, put the correct outfit (helmet, controllers and rucksack), you are in a room with black drapery so the game sensors can work correctly and here we go ! From 2 to 4 players, you must work together to perform some actions resolve puzzles, and find objects to exit the game levels. After the game, have fun putting on costumes for a photo session !
The game is available from 12 years old, the youngest ones can wait with Marie and watch the screen
Souvenir Photo with the costume
Wander in the gardens at time of the year, appreciate their beauty, view the two castles and take the opportunity to visit the Renaissance Castle, which hosts a superb collection of more than 700 period interior pieces of furnishings. In terms of the visit, you can choose to be accompanied by a guide (a real person !) or you can get a very good audio-guide.
The pleasures of the summer in Bourdeilles do not stop here, there are nocturnal costumed visits organised. The guides are dressed with beautiful outfits, portraying one of the historic characters of the site and invite you to one of the most magical story telling events, with candles, in the halls and gardens of the castle… A unique moment ! For the film enthusiasts, there are open-air cinema screenings, organised by the Association Ciné-passion, IN and ON the walls of the castle. How to end a beautiful day perfectly !
The Renaissance Castle
The gardens all around the castle
Beautiful collection of interior furnishing
A little tour in the shop ?