Château de Marqueyssac is likely part of the quintet that gives “the valley of five castles” its moniker – it has a commanding position on top of a hill overlooking the river Dordogne. But the castle itself is not the main event on its own grounds. In fact, almost no one makes an effort to photograph the castle – and I was no exception. In hindsight, it feels strange that I was standing in front of it and thought nothing of taking a picture of the façade, but I firmly ascribe it to its lack of oompf.
Parts of the castle have been fairly recently restored and opened to the public, so I snapped a couple of pictures inside.
The main attraction at Marqueyssac are the vast gardens, occupying nearly 55 acres on the plateau. There are several additional points of interest, such as a woodworking shop, a dinosaur display, several auxiliary buildings, and a couple of children playgrounds, but most visitors to the Marqueyssac would pay only superficial attention to those.
There is a small portion of the gardens that is intricately sculpted. A much larger portion is a network of walking a riding paths among semi-formal or mostly wild growth, which are enlivened at intervals by either natural or man-made features. We spent more time just walking than taking pictures, so these few fragments do not get anywhere close to doing the gardens justice.
Several features are signposted with historical notes, and there are many stands that describe flora and fauna of the area, so the educational component of the visit is pretty significant too. The idea behind this field of stone heads was lost on me, however.
These local residents are definitely among the main attractions.
Finally, there are views. From its elevation of over 500 feet, the park offers several terraces with fantastic perspectives over the valley. Here is one look at the river.
You have already met this castle and this village from a closer distance – it is Beynac-et-Cazenac, crowned by its spectacular château.
The view towards La Roque-Gageac, which will be the next stop on our journey.
There in the distance is Château de Castelnaud, presiding over the village of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. We will visit it as well.
Let’s place it in the background of a flower vase.
And, somehow, that is my lasting image of the Marqueyssac gardens.