About Jumilhac Castle
The Château de Jumilhac is a modified castle in the commune of Jumilhac-le-Grand in the Dordogne département of France. Its construction dates from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
History of Jumilhac Castle
In Gallo-Roman times, Jumilhac was an agricultural estate belonging to Gemilii Actum, and underwent numerous attacks, over the centuries before being destroyed by the Vikings in 846.
A first masonry tower was built in 1152, but left in ruins by Richard the Lionheart. During the Hundred Years’ War, Du Guesclin besieged the fortress in 1370 and drove out the English troops of the Black Prince after 10 years of occupation.
In 1581, Antoine Chapelle bought the second part of the estate, later transforming the ruin into a Renaissance mansion. His grandson, François (elevated to the rank of Marquis in 1655 for his military achievements), restructured the Château, transforming the first floor of the old castle into private apartments and reception rooms, the defensive towers and the surrounding wall, connecting them into residential pavilions.
During the French Revolution, the castle and land was seized as “absentee property”, and then passed through multiple owners including Antoine-Pierre (who became Marquis de Jumilhac), the Count of Rochechouart and the Etienne family. It was bought in 1917 by property merchant Mr. Bernstein, and in 1919 became jointly the property of two Jumilhacois who tried to save it from a state of abandonment.
The central part was classified as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture in 1922, the right wing in 1923 and the left wing in 1924. Count Odet de Jumilhac and his wife, Mathilde de Dreux-Brézé, bought back the family castle in 1927, and it was gradually restored and open to visitors in 1964.
Jumilhac Castle today
The castle and gardens are still privately owned but are open to the public, welcoming nearly 11,500 visitors per year. Since 2002, the château has hosted receptions, seminars, concerts and plays in the Salons Richelieu.
Getting to Jumilhac Castle
The castle is situated in the south east of the Parc naturel régional Périgord Limousin, around 34 miles south of Limoges (56 minutes by car via D704) and approximately 33 miles north of Périgord (around 1 hour by car via D78, N21 and D8).