Castle of Milandes★★★☆☆
The Castle of Milandes, with its attractive stonework and Gothic features, is a great example of Renaissance architecture. It was built in the late 15th century by the Caumont family and it remained their home until the French Revolution.
Francois de Caumont was the owner of the Castle of Castelnaud, which by the end of the 15th century began to turn into a rather large and uncomfortable fortress. As a result, Lord Francois decided to build a more romantic castle for his young wife, Claude de Cardaillac. With architectural features such as turrets, gargoyles, beautiful stained-glass and large rooms opening onto the valley, the edifice became the permanent residence of the family, while Castelnaud was abandoned.
The castle saw some turbulent times during the French Wars of Religion as the Caumont family converted to Protestantism. Nevertheless, they manage somehow to keep the chateau until the French Revolution. The French Revolution sounded the death for the beautiful castle, as it had to be abandoned. It was sold during the 19th century, but the new owners had never shown any interest in the building.
Fortunately, at the turn of the century, Charles Augustus Claverie, a French industrialist, bought the residence and began major restoration works that were carried on for 14 years. A new wing was added and all the windows were restored. The towers and balconies were also renovated, an ultra-modern winery was built and a landscape architect was commissioned to create a French style garden around the castle.
In the 1930's, the castle was famously reinvigorated by legendary music hall star Josephine Baker. Art deco was the prominent style at the time and among the highlights of Josephine's restorations are the ornately decorated art-deco bedrooms and the art deco bathrooms. Sadly, debts have forced Josephine to sell the castle later on.
The castle today
Today, Milandes is one of the prettiest chateaux in the area. All its structural elements - towers, turrets, roofs, stained glass windows, gargoyles - are put together in a beautifully harmonious way. The castle is surrounded by attractive gardens and from April to October, there is a falconry and birds of prey show at Chateau des Milandes.
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Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Dordogne department, France