Architecture Around the World

Maison Forte de Reignac - Table of Contents

Exterior - Maison Forte de Reignac

(pron. ray nyac)
24620 Tursac, France


Every year millions of tourists visit the renowned castles of Europe, but very few of them find their way to the Maison Forte de Reignac, a masterpiece of medieval construction located near the tiny village of Tursac in the Dordogne Region of southern France.

High above the Vezere River, the visitor sees a castle emerge from the face of the sheer cliff. Half-buried in the surface of the limestone precipice, this fortress is unique among the country’s many chateaux. In French this type of castle is known as a “chateau falaise” or cliff castle, and this is the best preserved of the few cliff castles that still remain in France.

This 14th-century citadel is carved into a grotto where Cro-Magnon man first made a home. The cave holds evidence of more than 20,000 years of human habitation. Additional construction occurred in the 16th century but little has changed since then.

Originally built as a secure defensible fortification from which the lord of the manor could watch over his property and protect it from raiders, the castle now sits quietly above the river valley offering grand views.

Unlike many French castles, Maison Forte de Reignac was never involved in any major battle and it is doubtful that it would have withstood an attack from a large well-armed force. However, the defenses were ideal to keep the inhabitants safe from marauding bandits. Once the stronghold of descendants of the famous French pirate Jean Bart, the castle has been home to many rulers over the centuries. Listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1964, for decades the privately owned site was open solely to researchers. In 2006, the current owner [Jean Max Touron] opened the castle for the public to enjoy.

2015 photos







Note the two terraces near top and far right












Note the red banners (one detailed below:)




The salamander in the lower half is a reference to Francois I whose emblem was the salamander. See Francis I Gallery - Fontainebleau Palace
... Fleurs-de-lis are commonly associated with French royalty








Originally built as a secure defensible fortification from which the lord of the manor could watch over his property and protect it from raiders, the castle now sits quietly above the river valley offering grand views.





















Photos and their arrangement 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
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