Photo of Maison Forte de Reignac

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.

Maison ForteFrom 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.

See also: 

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Map of Maison Forte de Reignac and places to visit


Maison Forte de Reignac places to visit

The Prehisto Park

The Prehisto Park

The Prehisto Park is an outdoor park with recreations of life in prehistoric times.

The Prehisto Park guide
The troglodyte village of La Madeleine

The troglodyte village of La Madeleine

A troglodyte village that was inhabited in prehistoric times.

The troglodyte village of La Madeleine guide
La Roque Saint Christophe

La Roque Saint Christophe

La Roque Saint Christophe is a troglodyte town carved out in the cliffs.

La Roque Saint Christophe guide
Le Moustier

Le Moustier

A small village with two prehistoric rock shelters.

Le Moustier guide
Chateau de Commarque

Chateau de Commarque

The Chateau de Commarque is a partially renovated 12th century castle.

Chateau de Commarque guide
Font de Gaume

Font de Gaume

One of the rare caves containing prehistoric paintings still open to the public.

Font de Gaume guide