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Welcome to the Château des Sénéchaux

Situated on a rocky promontory in the beautiful village of Bourdeilles, in the heart of the Dordogne countryside, just 10km from the charming Venice of the Périgord, Brantôme, the Château des Sénéchaux offers Four Star Accommodation comprising three luxurious properties, each with unique views, seclusion and a sense of intimacy.

25 metres above the River Dronne, with splendid views over the valley to the woodlands beyond, the 17th century entrance suggests an elegant and wealthy household, but the heart of the property boasts the 15th century origins of it's function, with a prison cell and guard room, and a tower to house the secrets of the Seneschal.

The foundation for the Château des Sénéchaux which was built in the 1500's on the ruins of a hospital for the poor dating back to 1451. With slate and tile topped towers, gothic arches, a prison cell, extensive cellars, and a secret tunnel, the property is loaded with fairytale charm.

At the beginning of the 1400s, Arnaud 1er de Bourdeilles was the first Lord of Bourdeilles to be conferred with the title of Seneschal, followed by his son, his brothers, his great grandson, and then his great-great grandson André de Bourdeilles, eldest brother of Pierre de Brantôme, Abbé Commandataire de l'Abbaye de Brantôme and best known as author of the daring novel "Les Dames Galantes".
In the 1500s, André de Bourdeilles was conferred by the King Henri II, as Seneschal du Périgord, and with his wife, Jacquette de Montbron, came to claim the seat of the Barony de Bourdeilles.  However, the original seat of power was an austere medieval, almost uninhabitable fortress, and so Jean Bertaud, Lord of Pouzols, loaned his property, the Manoir des Hélies to his friend, and the Manoir became the seat of power for André de Bourdeilles in his role as Seneschal and Governor of Périgord. André de Bourdeilles and Jacquette de Montbron inherited the property upon Jean Bertaud's death.

André de Bourdeilles was an official advisor to King François I, and subsequently to King Henri II, and captain of 50 armed men, he was also a distinguished chevalier de l'Ordre de Saint-Michel, and Panetier ordinaire du Roi, an important role in the court in those days, advisor to the State, and the Commander of the Guyenne army.
Jacquette de Montbron was also an influential figure at this time. After the death of her husband André, in 1582, Jacquette joined the court of Catherine de Medici as a dame d'honneur, and very soon became one of her favourites.  This becomes evident when Catherine died in 1589 and bequeathed 4000 écus to Jacquette (about €550,000 in today's terms). Jacquette used this legacy to design and construct the Renaissance wing next to the 11th century château. Unfortunately, Jacquette was financially unable to complete the construction, and the "pleasure wing" remains unfinished to this day. Jacquette died in 1594.

The château is built of dressed stone and limestone rubble. The north facade overlooks the Dronne from the cliff on which it is built. This façade, as well as the west façade show the wealth of the family and the defensive character of the property, with impregnable stone walls that can reach 22m in height.​

In the northeast corner of the main property, a hexagonal tower, home to a grand spiral staircase, is pierced with transom mullions in glazed stone (16th century), and completed by a second turret on the north side. This façade of this tower is pocked with canon shot impacts from during the war of religions

A third tower with a decorative slate roof completes the ensemble. Reading the Napoleonic cadastre clearly shows the additions made, in particular the construction of two pavilions (17th century) delimiting an interior courtyard which is entered from the south. 

The presence of a helmet of a Seneschal in the tympanum of the classical door testifies to the primary function of the residence, as do the prison cell and the secret tunnel leading to the Château de Bourdeilles.

The Château des Sénéchaux has a delightful multitude of architectural details ranging from stone spiral staircases and 17th century arches, to meurtrières and secret passages, and 15th century trefoil sculpted into the north façade.

The life of the château post Napoleon is somewhat less colourful, as the property came into the hands of private owners, however at the end of the 1800's it had come full circle from the Hopitum de Hélias, again becoming home to a doctor, Dr Lafon who used part of the stable block as his infirmary. 

Subsequently, a gentleman merchant of haberdashery and wall tapestries, Mr Geneste, bought the property, and he and his wife invested greatly in the updating and decoration of the main house. During his time, the house exuded a sense of family warmth and life.

The last owners were, for the first time, British, and in the early years they were hosts to artists and students, and used the courtyard for weddings and other festive gatherings.

Now, the entire property has been renovated by the current owners, providing a marvellous home for their family, and stylish and luxurious accommodation in the Dordogne for their guests. These historical characteristics have been conserved and highlighted by the current owners, who have transformed the property into a warm and hospitable private residence, with luxurious and exceptional four-star accommodation available for you to immerse yourself in.

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