July 2011 visit: Beynac et Cazenac – Family fun with the 17 year old son……
We clambered over ruined medieval fortresses and castles where Dan has scared the hell out of me perched on broken crenellations inside roped off areas at the top of towers. We queued for an obscene amount of time to get a guided tour into a Gouffre – a massive domed underworld cathedrale of stalactites and calcium pools – where we descended into this enormous cavern in a small lift. It was pretty remarkable. Some selfish tourist had brought in his screaming child who wailed its lungs out – for 45 minutes straight – so that no one could hear either the guide or the music.
That was a treat.
I took Dan to see the Chateau of Milandes
where the black singer and philanthropist and all-round fool with money Josephine Baker lived for 30 years.
I have never seen a 17 year old “do” a chateau so quickly.
He was out again in 30 seconds, appalled at the glittering costumes and Dior-inspired bathrooms.
I loved it of course and made him wait while I scoured every room. The story is so moving and fascinating. The photos are great. I felt plunged back into her world. She adopted 12 children from different nationalities and then of course like most abused children herself – she lost all her money and her chateau.
Kids survived in varying ways and apparently a few still go back now and then to the chateau to re-live the memoires.Probably a highlight was a medieval castle built into a huge rock face that we went to see yesterday called Maison Forte de Reignac.
Really worth a visit if you are nimble. If you are not then do not bother.
It was raining and therefore it was packed with Dutch and Belgian tourists all with wide girths who stood stupidly in doorways gawping and blocking traffic.
There was the Scold’s Bridle often used to gag victims and stop them being able to scream whilst they burned silently at the stake en masse because the onlookers liked to listen to music…..
There was the iron nipple twister, the common-as-dirt branding irons, the Heretic’s Fork which had super sharp fork tines at both ends and one end was placed in the upper chest whilst the other rammed in under the chin. if the Heretic nodded off he would impale himself through the throat.
Hardly an instrument of torture. It just cut heads off quickly.
No idea what it was doing there. Totally out of place.