Beynec was built by the Beynec family in the 13th century and was taken over by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades. In the 15th century it saw much action during the war between England and France. Things calmed down for the castle until the 16th century when it became a prison. Now it stands witness to over 900 years of history. The castle was so powerful, locals named it “Satan’s Ark”. The castle is protected by its sheer drop against the river and strong northern defences which were reinforced in the 16th century with a double moat, double wall and two barbicans.
The castle of Beynac is an awesome sight, known as the “King of Perigord” towering above the Beynac village at the foot of the cliff. It is considered on of France’s finest pieces of architecture from the Middle Ages, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River.
The village is constructed in layers from the seafront topped by a heroic fort. It is a top spot for painters and photographers who flock to depict its golden stone walls mirrored in the Dordogne river. The baronial flags of the States General of Perigord are still hung in the halls where the barons would meet some 700 years ago. The view from the castle roofs, 200 metres above the river is stunning taking in the valley and surrounding Chateaux Castelnaud, Fayrac and Marqueyssac.
The Romanesque chapel on the edge of the Beynac cliff was the location from the 1978 film version of Les Miserables.