Visiting Château des Milandes, France

Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.

by and - last updated on 4/26/2024

Travel Tile Visiting Château des Milandes was easy, because we had just departed Château de Beynac on the north side of the Dordogne River, a 9.7 kilometer drive - and - Milandes is on the south side of the river. You can see Chateau des Milandes from Chateau de Beynac, due to the height of Beynac, but the road system requires you to take a roundabout drive at Milandes.

This Château was made famous because it was purchased by Josephine Baker in 1947, and was originally built by François de Caumont around 1489, 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 (4.2 kilometers east - you will drive right next to it after you cross the Pont de Castelnaud (route D-57) over the Dordogne River).

The castle's architecture is a blend of Renaissance and Gothic styles. The main façade is decorated with intricate carvings, including the Caumont coat of arms. The castle is surrounded by a moat and a beautiful park.

In 1940, Josephine Baker rented the Château des Milandes, and she purchased it in 1947. Baker lived in the castle with her husband, Jo Bouillon, and their adopted children from all over the world. Baker also used the castle to host parties and events, and she even built a small zoo on the property.

With its rich history, stunning architecture, and association with a cultural icon, Château des Milandes stands as a testament to the charm and allure of the Dordogne region, drawing visitors from around the world to immerse themselves in its unique blend of history and artistry.

A Brief History of Château des Milandes   3D Map

The castle's story begins in the 15th century, a period of reconstruction following the Hundred Years' War. Built on the foundations of a former fortress, the castle adopted a more residential style, reflecting a shift towards peace and prosperity. The Marquis de Geoffre de Gontaut-Biron, a prominent figure in the region, commissioned the construction. The resulting structure showcased Renaissance influences, with grand halls, elegant windows, and decorative flourishes.

For centuries, Château des Milandes remained in the Gontaut-Biron family, witnessing the evolution of the region. The castle served not only as a residence but also as a center for social gatherings and cultural events. However, by the early 20th century, the castle fell into disrepair and financial hardship forced the family to sell it.

In 1946, an unexpected chapter unfolded when the legendary American entertainer Josephine Baker entered the scene. Captivated by the castle's beauty and historical significance, Baker purchased it and embarked on an ambitious restoration project. She envisioned the castle as a haven for her growing family, adopting twelve children from all corners of the world. Baker's arrival breathed new life into the Château des Milandes. She transformed the gardens into a vibrant space, hosting lavish parties and artistic performances. The castle resonated with the spirit of internationalism and cultural exchange that Baker championed throughout her career.

Baker's ownership, however, faced financial challenges. Despite her efforts, she was forced to sell the castle in 1969. Though her time at Château des Milandes was relatively brief, it left an indelible mark. Today, the castle serves as a museum dedicated to Baker's life and legacy. Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing her costumes, awards, and personal belongings. The Château des Milandes stands as a testament to both its medieval past and the vibrant spirit of Josephine Baker, forever intertwined in its history.

Exploring Château des Milandes   3D Map

Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Explore the fairytale Château des Milandes in Dordogne Valley! Once home to Josephine Baker, iconic singer & activist, the castle offers guided tours, beautiful gardens, and captivating history. Perfect for music lovers, history buffs, and families seeking a unique French adventure.
Plan Your Visit to Château des Milandes 

   How do I get to Château des Milandes?

You could consider driving, or taking a train;

  • By Train: The nearest train station is Sarlat, from there you will need to either rent a car or take a taxi.
  • By Car from Sarlat: Follow the D-57 south, cross the Dordogne on the Pont de Castelnaud bridge and turn right in Tournepique onto the D-53, follow the signs to the chateau, 6.2 kilometers.
  • By Bus tour: Either Viator or Get Your Guide may have bus tours that you can investigate.
  • Château des Milandes Photography: WARNING - Photographs are prohibited inside the castle due to copyright. There are signs everywhere in the interior and there are employees on each floor who will quickly remind you.
  • Château des Milandes Parking: There is a large public (free) parking lot adjacent to the Château entrance.
  • Château des Milandes Tickets: Adult price is currently €13.50 per person. Tickets are sold at the entrance portal.
  • Château des Milandes Hours: Currently 9:30AM to 6:00PM, 7 days a week.
  • Restaurants near Château des Milandes: Here is a Google Search Results link for restaurants near Château des Milandes. The Brasserie du Château is located adjacent to the Château building, reserved for visitors with entrance tickets.
  • Accommodations near Château des Milandes: The Château des Milandes is isolated in the countryside, so you would have to drive a few miles to reach any place to stay. Here is a Google List link for accommodations near Château des Milandes, France.
More Info for Château des Milandes 

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