The 12th Century Château de Biron, Dordogne, France

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A 12th Century Castle and Chapel from the Dordogne Region of France. The Castle was in the same family for 24 generations until it was sold to the French Ministry of Culture in 1978. The family and their home survived every possible catastrophy from the Cathar Wars, the 100 Year War, the French Revolution and two World Wars...a most impressive feat.

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The 12th Century Château de Biron, Dordogne, France

  1. 1. 1 proudly presents:proudly presents: The old, historicThe old, historic 12th Century,12th Century, ChChââteauteau dede BironBiron & its Chapel,& its Chapel, BironBiron, near Bergerac, near Bergerac in southern Dordogne, Aquitaine, Francein southern Dordogne, Aquitaine, France written bywritten by:: Fergus DucharmeFergus Ducharme,, assisted by:assisted by: JoemarieJoemarie AcallarAcallar && NiloNilo JimenoJimeno with photos by:with photos by: Vincent leVincent le PoittevinPoittevin
  2. 2. 2 © Vincent le Poittevin
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4 The Gontaut-Biron family started building their castle in the 12th century and in fact owned continuously until the late 1978 when they sold it to the French Government. It had by that time been ‘in the family for some 24 generations’. It was in fact an active castle starting with the 13th century Cathar religious wars. The Castle was seized by the Cathars in 1211 and re-conquered the following year by Simon de Montfort the Elder. The Chateau underwent important transformations in the 15th century after the end of the Hundred Years War when it was made more comfortable with the addition of windows and many other enhancements, often in the renaissance style. Troubled times returned with the Religious Wars of the 16th century, during which time the Gontaut-Biron family were out of favour with the King. This situation continued until the 18th century, when the family was at last able to continue with their improvements to the castle. With the coming of the revolution in France the castle again fell into disrepair and neglect and once again, the family had to fight to keep and to continue making improvements to the Chateau.
  5. 5. 5 © Vincent le Poittevin © Vincent le Poittevin
  6. 6. 6 © Vincent le Poittevin © Vincent le Poittevin
  7. 7. 7 © Vincent le Poittevin Most interesting is the fascinating 16th century chapel, which was built on two levels - the lower chapel was for the commoners (villagers) and the upper chapel was for the lords who believed they should be a little bit closer to heaven at prayer time.
  8. 8. 8 You can also see a great distance across the Dordogne countryside from the castle. Now a mixture of wooded areas and open fields, remember that all this land was fully covered by forests until the 18th century. This is the view of the valley & surrounding region from the Château & Chapel. © Vincent le Poittevin
  9. 9. 9 © Vincent le Poittevin In 1928 the Ministry of Culture declared the Château de Biron a National Historic Monument.
  10. 10. 10 We want to thank the following for their contributions to this article: Photos provided by: Vincent le Poittevin, Other materials and some photos provided by: www.wikipedia.org This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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