Chateau de Commarque - Dordogne

Photo of Chateau de Commarque

Visit Chateau de Commarque

Between Sarlat and Les Eyzies in the valley of the River Beune, is the fascinating Château de Commarque. It was originally built to defend against the greedy Beynac family and to defend the valley. Its origins date back to the 12th century.

It stands at the crossroads of two important routes - one from Brive to Bergerac and one from Perigeux to Cahors. Eventually though the Beynac family gained control and improved the fortifications and changed the wooden tower for a stone keep where they lived. Later the castle was captured by the English and then by the catholics during the Wars of Religion.

The castle was ruined during the Wars of Religion, and completely abandoned from the 18th century on. The village and chateau then remained hidden under vegetation for 200 years, only recently (from the 1970's) being 'rediscovered', cleared, and reopened to the public. The magnificent stone keep, which was built in the 16th century is still standing.

Exploring the Chateau de Commarque

The castle was a veritable village all surrounded by fortified walls. The extraordinary village includes fascinating knights towers and houses carved into the rock, and the castle is a very romantic, evocative spot.

The dominant buildings are the Keep and Great Hall. The Keep was built in two parts and has a 12th century Romanesque tower and a Gothic keep. Next to this is the Great Hall.

Spreading out from these buildings are the Barbican - a defensive structure and the Noble House of Commarque and the house of Jehans des Escars. Below these are the remains of the Oven House and the Buttress House Tower. The Buttress House Tower has survived well enough to give a good idea of the original shape and size of this house. The Chapel of Saint John has also left enough remains to give an impression of its original structure. Lastly there is The House Tower but very little of this remains.

Below Commarque castle there are some troglodyte caves in the rock.

Apparently there is also a cave which contains a full sized drawing of a horse made by Magdalenian man but unfortunately this is not open to the public. This is in the rock below the castle and proves that man has lived on this spot since pre-historic times.

Incredible to think that a whole visit was lost under brambles and forgotten about, the castle and remnants of the village now make for a fascinating visit.

See also:

Map of Chateau de Commarque with places to visit

To visit close to Chateau de Commarque

This page in French: Chateau de Commarque (version Francais)