Langue Francais  English Language  Netherlands Language  Espanol Language

Book a room

Arrival date :
Night(s) :
Adult(s) :
Child(ren) :

A bit of prehistory

At the site of the castle, on a small rock looking out over a valley run through by the Beuronne, an affluent of the Isle that crosses the town of Périgueux and that ends up in the Dordogne river, it is possible that the area was already inhabited tens of thousands of years ago, just like other places of the region. Historians have even described the largest local community where they found traces of the « Chancelade man », a related cousin of the « Cro-Magnon man » that used to live in Les Eyzies, at less than an hour from the Castle.

Those who love prehistory can enjoy a visit to the museum of the Périgord in Périgueux or the National Prehistoric Museum of Les Eyzies for a journey to our origins. Or, experience a visit to Lascaux II or other formerly inhabited caves, and discover that by examining where we come from, we have better understanding of who we are.

About History

The region was full of game, and the unique situation (the Périgord is being crossed by la Transeuropéenne and the 45th parallel) made it a passing through area for all populations and invasions. The Romans were the first builders that came; they founded Vésonne, before it became Périgueux. The Vésunna museum, built by Jean Nouvel, shows beautiful remainders of it today. Different periods follow each other, and the Hundred Year's War left a strong English influence, which can be found in the architecture and the trading business of the region; Chancelade was the site of an extraordinary bloody battle between the supreme commander of the Guesclin and the Black Prince, on the land of the Abbey itself.

The Renaissance alternated periods of wisdom when Montaigne was mayor of Périgueux, for example, and periods of barbarism during the religious wars that separated the catholic Périgueux and the Calvinistic Bergerac. Today, the Périgord is proud of its history and maintains a beautiful heritage, while trying to keep the most useful part for the modern man: a certain art of living.

An anecdote

It is 1840, a period where notaries of the countryside were handsome men with straight cut beards, who, when they went to Paris, visited the theatre and sometimes fell for a charming innocent girl. That is probably what happened to Notary Lagrange. This man was rich and he had the Château des Reynats built with the idea of making it a summer residence for the Comédie Française. This notable from the Périgord had just created the first of the many festivals that are organised during the holidays in France today. He developed his project and the Comédie Française started its journey, with the famous tragic actor Monnet-Sully ahead, and performed the play Iphigénie on the field between the Castle and the Abbey. It was an enormous success, it is said that there were about 3000 people in the audience.

But the following celebrations became too expensive for the notary; and with the coming winter he had to sell the castle. By the end of the 19th century the castle gets a famous owner, Camille Pelletan, a journalist and critic, friend of Rimbaud and Verlaine, who ends up in politics as Minister of the Marine in 1905. After that, various families follow each other, up to the end of the previous century when the Desprez family decided to turn the Castle into the hotel it has become today.