Le Château de Castelnaud
War Museum in the Middle Ages
Castelnaud castle is built on a rocky outcrop and offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Dordogne Valley.
With its collection of arms and armour, and full-scale reconstructions of war machines (mangonel, trébuchet, pierrière, bricole), you will learn about the art of warfare in the Middle Ages and certain aspects of the lifestyle of the Lords of Castelnaud, with the medieval-style garden and the furnished keep.
The trail for self-guided walks is dotted with signposts, multimedia boards, interactive terminals and mockups. In summer, guided tours on the theme of war in the Middle Ages are given in French, English and Dutch.
Castelnaud Castle, a Historical Monument, has housed the Medieval War Museum since 1985.
The museum features a large collection of polearms, swords, daggers, artillery pieces, defensive outfits, and more…. The deliberately simple layout highlights the collections and provides detailed explanations of how arms and armour were made and used. How the fortifications and siege techniques have evolved is also explained in a slide show, films, and video games available to the public.
> The Medieval War Museum
Outside: The war machines that were used to attack castles have been faithfully reconstructed – various hurling machines such as the bricole, pierrière, trebuchet and bombarde…
Inside the museum: the artillery room, the great hall, the keep’s lower hall, the arms room, the keep’s upper hall, the mockups room, the armourer’s workshop.
Medieval shop/bookstore open all year round, tavern in high season.
> SELF-GUIDED WALKS
Self-guided walks let you explore the château at your own pace. You will discover a vast collection of arms and armour, some 250 pieces, from all over Europe. Designed to be educational, the museum walk is dotted with audiovisual aids, video games and mockups. Outside, the most powerful medieval siege machines (mangonels, trebuchets, bombardes…) have been reconstructed. The medieval garden makes a pleasant way to finish your visit. A tour leaflet in 10 languages (free of charge) is available at the entrance to the château.
> OUTDOOR GUIDED TOURS, BOOKING REQUIRED, ALL YEAR ROUND (EXCLUDING JULY AND AUGUST – 45 MINS)
In addition to the self-guided walks, outdoor guided tours help you learn more about military architecture and the art of warfare in the Middle Ages. The tour explains how siege techniques evolved, with the help of five reconstructed medieval war machines. The tour can also be enhanced with a trebuchet demonstration (1/3 scale version) operated by the guide, or a crossbow (that everyone can try shooting).
Guided tours offered daily from April to November.
Themed costume visits (school holidays).
Trebuchet shooting demonstration (school holidays).
Face to face with an arquebusier from the Wars of Religion (spring and autumn holidays).
Blacksmithing demonstration (spring, summer and fall holidays).
Weapons handling show (summer vacation)
Open every day, all year round.
February, March and Oct. to Nov. 14: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
April, May, June and September: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
July, August: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Nov 15 to end of January: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Last admission 1 hour before closing
Duration of the free visit 1h to 1h30.