Sunday, 10 August 2008

Château de Gavaudun

Today's adventure was a visit to Gavaudun (after a short stop at the Monpazier brocante).  We have stopped off at this rather impressive site a few times before but this was our first proper visit.

Gavaudun is situated in a beautiful valley of the river Lède and the views from the top of the Donjon are amazing.
Château_et_Donjon_Gavaudun Château_de_Gavaudun2 Château_de_Gavaudun_vue_du_bas
                Brief History                         Google Map showing location of Gavaudun

The castle was first built during the 11th century.  In the 12th century it was occupied by "heretics" escaping religious persecution. In 1165 the Bishop of Périgueux ordered the castle besieged and after the demise of these non-conformists, he ordered the castle be levelled.

It was subsequently rebuilt in the 13th century and it was of great strategic importance during the Hundred Year's War where it played a key role in the French victory against the English occupation.  

The information I read claimed that "it helped to end the English occupation of Aquitaine" - I think that is misinformed because by my reckoning the English occupation is still continuing to this day:)

Scary Staircases
The entry to the castle isn't exactly up to New Zealand OSH standards which meant it was great fun.  Pretty vertical - I'm not sure the following photos do it justice.

Stairs UpScaryStairs ScaryStairs

That said the staircase up the 25m high keep (donjon) wasn't much better, at least it was so narrow it would be difficult to topple over. 

I loved it all. My only disappointment was that my camera batteries failed shortly after entry, I spent too much time trying to rub them together. 

We all enjoyed ourselves and ended the adventure with a picnic at the base of the rock outcrop (beneath the castle).

  GavaudunWindow Road2GavaudunGavaudunWall