Once upon a time, on a cold winter Sunday, I decided to enjoy a good old feel-good movie and watched Ever After, Drew Barrymore modern take on the Cinderella story. At the end of the movie, Cinderella and her prince gallop toward their future and out of an amazing castle. It looked to me as if that castle was dropped on the top of a charming medieval village.
Fairytale land, as it existed in my imagination since I was a little girl.
It could only be the wonders of Hollywood set designers… but I was curious. I have seen my share of beautiful castles in my life, this one might very well exist. Little did I know it does, and oh it’s in France. And oh, it’s only 4.5 hours away from where I live. Let’s go then!
The area is called Dordogne (the department), you’ll also hear Aquitaine (that’s the region) or Perigord (a former province or natural region). To me, it’s Fairytale land!
Green meadows, medieval villages everywhere and castle after castle. How did I not come here before?
The Chateau de Hautefort: a unique architecture
Located on the site of a former roman camp, the medieval fortress was transformed into an imposing stately home during the 17th century, as the defences were progressively replaced by classical architecture. The Chateau and the Hospice, located in the village and built by the Marquis de Hautefort at the same time as the transformation of the castle, reflect the rank and power of the Marquis.
The elegant silhouette of the Chateau de Hautefort crowns the summit of a plateau that dominates the Valley of the Beuze and the Lourde rivers, tributaries of the Auvézère river. The interior contains a remarkable collection of 17th and 18th century furniture.
In the 19th century, the renowned landscape architect, the count de Choulot, created the French formal gardens and the English-style park of 30 hectares which offer a variety of countryside and village views. The formal gardens, delimited by box hedges elegantly surrounding the castle complement the architecture and enhance the pleasure of the visit.
Plan a couple of hours to enjoy all there is to in this magnificent site. Then, wander around the medieval village and enjoy more beautiful views of the countryside.
Entrance fee: 9 euros.