About Biron Castle
The 12th century Château de Biron is a castle in the commune of Biron in the Dordogne département of France.
The present château bears additions over the centuries that make a picturesque ensemble: a 12h-century keep, 16th-century living quarters, a chapel and vaulted kitchens. The commune purchased Biron Castle in 1978, hoping to restore the structure as a tourist draw – as it is today.
Since 1928, the Château de Biron has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
Biron Castle history
One of the 4 Périgord barony seats, Biron Castle was built in the 12th century along the strategic borders of Périgord and Agenais, a short distance from the fortified town of Monpazier. The castle’s history was tied to the family of the Gontaut-Birons, who held the barony from the 11th century and named themselves for the castle (‘Biron’).
Biron was seized by the Cathars – a unorthodox Christian community in southern France persecuted by the Catholic Church – in 1211 and retaken by Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester the following year. Simon de Montford was a favourite of King Henry III and his father was known for leading the Albegesinian Crusade against the Cathars. The Plantagenets held Biron Castle at times during the 14th and 15th centuries, but it was ultimately returned to the French.
In 1938 the Marquis of Biron was ruined and forced to sell the chateau to the commune.
Biron Castle today
Today, Biron Castle belongs to Dordogne, its buildings providing a diverse collection of architectural styles that reflects the family’s historical status as soldiers and lords often in favour with royalty. Open from 10am to 6pm (with an hour break between 1 and 2pm) the castle offers a glimpse into medieval and early modern life, from minting coins by hand in the courtyard to touring the vaulted kitchens with the old work surfaces.
The castle is also home to one of the area’s principal art exhibition spaces. Boasting stunning views of the surrounding countryside, Biron Castle transports you back to the age of chivalry
Getting to Biron Castle
Found in the small village of Biron, Biron Castle is best reached via car. From Bergerac, the castle is a 45 minute drive via the D14. From Toulouse, where there is an airport, Biron is a 2 hour drive via A62 and N21.