The castle

The history of the castle

Castelnaud, or rather Castelnau, the new castle, was founded in the 12th century. In the possession of a Cathar lord Bernard de Casnac at the start of the 13th century, it was taken by Simon de Montfort in 1214 during the Albigensian Crusade. A new castle was then built. The keep and the curtain wall date from that period.

During the Hundred Years War, the castle was often in the possession of the English. Following a siege ordered by the French king Charles VII in 1442, the French army recaptured it definitively. With the conflict drawn to a close, the castle was returned to the Caumont family, the owners since 1368. They reinforced the castle’s defences: the lower wall and new barbican were equipped with cannon ports and the artillery tower was built.


During the Wars of Religion, the castle was entrusted to Geoffroy de Vivans, born in Castelnaud. Nicknamed the Battler, he was feared throughout the Perigord and his reputation alone kept attackers away from the castle during that period.

In the 15th century, new living apartments were set out to improve the comfort of the medieval fortress. Despite all that, the Caumont family left Castelnaud to go live in their new castle in Les Milandes.
In the 17th century, the castle was rarely occupied. Abandoned during the French Revolution, it continued to deteriorate and even served as a stone quarry in the 19th century.

Listed as a Historic Building in 1966, the castle has subsequently undergone spectacular restoration projects and, since 1985, it houses the Museum of Medieval Warfare.

Plan du château de Castelnaud GB