About Château des Milandes
Built by François de Caumont around 1489, the Château des Milandes is a manor house in the commune of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle in the Dordogne département of France.
It was, until 1535, the main house of the lords of Caumont, who preferred to live in this manor house instead of the large, uncomfortable medieval castle of Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.
It has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1986.
Château des Milandes history
Château des Milandes was built in 1489 and is an excellent example of Renaissance architecture. When the eminent Caumont family settled in the castle Lord François de Caumont sought to make the castle more romantic for his wife, Claude de Cardaillac bringing rooms alive with more light. With the addition of beautiful stained-glass in its mullioned windows, and rooms opening onto the valley, the castle became the permanent residence of the Caumont family.
The French Revolution marked the end of the opulence and power of the Caumont family leading to the Château being abandoned. It was sold in the 19th century yet was not maintained, which resulted in it being abandoned again by the new owners. In 1850 two families shared the Milandes residence and changed the distribution of its rooms.
French industrialist Charles Augustus Claverie bought the residence in 1900 and embarked on a significant restoration project that resulted in the transformation of the castle between 1900 and 1914. With the input of architect Henri Laffillée, additions included New towers, new accommodation, romantic balconies, restored windows, an ultra-modern winery and a farm. In 1908, landscape architect Jules Vacherot was commissioned to create a garden extending from the castle, “in the French style” surrounded by an English-style park.
Later in the 20th century Château des Milandes was famously the home of Josephine Baker, as the physical location of her “Global Village, the Capital of Universal Fraternity” to show the whole world that children of different nationalities and different religions could live together in peace. Baker, her husband and their adopted 12 children together and lived at the castle in pursuit of this dream. Baker was a famous musician and activist and was the only woman to speak at the Washington March alongside Martin Luther King in 1963.
In 1961 that she was awarded the Legion of Honour by Général Valin at Château de Milandes.
Château des Milandes today
The medieval splendour remains today, with architectural features such as turrets, a winding staircase and gargoyles. The castle is a popular visitor site with attractions including a brasserie and a birds of prey show.
Getting to Château des Milandes
Château des Milandes is in the Périgord Nord area of Dordogne in the southern part of the départment. It is 16km south of the small town of Sarlat La Canéda.