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Like the majority of medieval castle Castelnau is perched on the top of the hill, in its case overlooking the Dordogne.
Its first structure was built in the 12th century.
During the cathar crusade, the castle belonging at the time to Bernard de Casnac, a cathar sympathizer, it was partially destroyed by the armies of Simon de Montfort, who for a short time took possession of it.
Towards the end of the crusade the castle was burned down, on the order of the Bishop of Bordeaux Guillaume Amanieu de Genève, but shortly reconstructed.
From the 13th century dates the square donjon that can still be seen today.
During the Hundread Years War between France and England the castle changes sides no less then 7 times, but in 1442 is taken definitively by the armies of King Charles VII of France.
The de Caumont family, that took possession of the castle through the marriage in 1368 of Magne de Castelnau to Nompar de Caumont, retakes it and remains the castle owner until the French Revolution.
De Caumont family’s history is tightly related with other events in the French history. One of the descendents Jacques Nompar de Caumont was a companion of Henri IV and was with him on the 14th of May 1610, when the king was killed by a fanatic.
The castle was declared a Historic Monument in 1980 and houses now an interesting Medieval War museum.
February, March, and October to November 11: 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
April, Mail, June and September: 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
July, August : 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
November 12th to end of January: 2.00 p.m to 5.00 p.m. (except for Christmas holidays: 10.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m.)