Visit Maison Forte de Reignac
The Maison Forte de Reignac is a kind of fortified Manor House that has been built into the rock. The majority of its roof is the overhanging cliff that is above it. Its modest appearance on the outside belies the scale of the building on the inside.
The Maison Forte de Reignac has been closed to the public until recently. It is now the only cliff-castle of its type in France that is so totally intact.
Exploring the Maison Fort de Reignac
The front of the house was built in the 14th century and its windows added in the 16th century, though the rock shelter has been occupied since historic times.
The initial entrance leads into a large underground rock chamber which is now used to display some of the prehistoric objects discovered on the site.
From here a tour of the building reveals many rooms with their period furnishings but each room has the odd anomaly of a stone wall or stone roof as most are built of stone at the front with windows etc but at the back of the room the wall or ceiling is the rock of the cliffs into which the house has been built.
The combination of the rock roof and rear walls and various defensive features of the chateau mean that it is one of the strongest of the Dordogne.
The rooms include kitchen, dining room, living room and chapel amongst others.
One of the smallest rooms belonged to one of the notorious inhabitants of the chateau. It is called the 'Billy goat room' after 'The Billy Goat of Reignac'. The chronicles of Eugene El Roy tell that his reputation was known throughout the Vezere Valley. He exercised his right of 'jus primae noctis' (right of the first night) over the women and girls of the region with a particular brutality. Men had to present their wives to the lord of the chateau on their wedding night for him to amuse himself as he wished!
Continuing the brutal theme the Maison Forte de Reignac has an exhibition of torture ranging from the Middle Ages to today. Over 60 different instruments of torture are exhibited.
Maison Forte de Reignac Opening Hours
The Maison Forte de Reignac is close to the village of Tursac, 8 minutes away from Les Eyzies. It is open every day from the school holidays in mid Feb to the end of November. March, April, October and November 10h-18h; May, June and September 10h-19h; July and August 10h-20h.
Places to Visit Nearby
The wonderful troglodyte village of La Roque Saint Christophe is just a couple of kilometers and offers a fascinating glimpse of life in a village hewn out of the cliff face. The Chateau de Commarque is also very close.
One of France's most beautiful villages is also very close. Saint Leon sur Vezere on the Vezere river has a lovely little church with a lauze (stone) roof.
Photos of Maison Forte de Reignac
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