Milandes Castle (France)
Nouvelle-Aquitaine See list of castles in Francia
Francois de Caumont, the owner of Castle Castelnaud, had the chateau des Milandes built in the 15th century for his young wife, who found Castelnaud rather cold and unwelcoming. It is a fine example of Renaissance architecture, with attractive stonework and period features.
Chateau des Milandes fell into ruin after the French Revolution but was famously restored by the legendary music hall star Josephine Baker - unusually among the Dordogne chateau, the most famous era in its history is the 20th century.
Exploring Chateau des Milandes
The chateau is one of the prettiest of the chateaux in this area, and is surrounded by attractive gardens. The exterior of the chateau has everything - turrets, pointy roofs, mullioned windows, stained glass windows, gargoyles - but it's all put together in a beautifully harmonious way.
The interior is now restored and maintained in the 1930s style in which Josephine Baker decorated it.
In addition, there are exhibitions and displays commemorating the life of Josephine, which started in the back street clubs of New York, and progressed to France where she was very well received and where she played a significant role in the resistance during World War 2.
Among the displays is her notorious dress made from bananas which she wore at 'Folies Bergère' in 1928 and stage outfits that she wore at 'Olympia' and the 'Casino de Paris'. You can also hear some recordings of her singing as you tour the chateau.
The Art Deco was the prominent style at the time of Josephine Baker's restoration of the chateau and one of the highlights is the art deco bathrooms, another ornately decorated art-deco bedrooms.
Sadly, debts forced Josephine Baker to sell the chateau later on, but it is pleasing now that the chateau should be a tribute to Josephine and her action-packed life.
Falconry was an integral part of life in the Middle Ages and during April to October there is a falconry display at the Chateau des Milandes. There is also a restaurant offering snacks and simple meals.