Chateau de Jumilhac visitor guide

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Visit Chateau de Jumilhac, France

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The Chateau de Jumilhac, 20km north-east of Thiviers and towards the northern edge of the Dordogne department, is an attractive castle set high above the valley of the Isle River.

The castle is best known for its elaborate, 'sleeping-beauty' style rooves and ornate turrets, with one of the most impressive 'skylines' of all the castles in France.

History of Jumilhac Castle

Although it dates originally from the 13th century, when it had an important defensive role to play in the region, the Chateau de Jumilhac was heavily modified during the 16th-17th centuries, when it was re-invented as a luxurious renaissance dwelling.

Chateau Jumilhac

It was also at this time that the famous roofs were added, along with the external walls and some magnificent entertainment rooms. As well as the main castle there are two additional wings which, together with a high stone wall, surround a courtyard.

Apart from an extended period during the 19th century when the castle was sold and subsequently repurchased, Jumilhac has been in the hands of the same family since the 16th century.

Exploring Jumilhac Chateau

There are several very interesting rooms in the chateau, with a good number of rooms containing grand fireplaces, staircase and parquetry floors to admire (although significant parts of the castle remain unrestored). The kitchen is also interesting being a careful reconstruction of a medieval kitchen.


A particular highlight is the 'bedroom of the spinning wheel' (chambre de la fileuse), a poignant room in the castle keep where a certain Louise de Hautefort apparently spent more than 20 years imprisoned while her husband was away at war in the early 17th century - we can still see the frescoes that she painted on the walls during this time.

Despite the great lengths her husband went to to prevent Louise from meeting other men, she still managed to have correspondence with a lover by sending messages hidden in sewing bobbins!

Chateau Jumilhac

Alchemy is also an important theme at the castle. The first Count of Jumilhac practiced alchemy in secret, since it was illegal at the time, but left various signs and clues at the castle such as a series of statues that you can see on the roof. The alchemy theme is now continued in the design of the gardens.

To the rear of the chateau at Jumilhac there are also some fine gardens in the French style with lots of meticulously tended grass and small box hedges.

Places to visit nearby

Saint-Jean-de-Cole is a very charming village and is classed as one of the "most beautiful villages of France". Nearby Excideuil is also nice and deserves a visit.

The castle is in the south-east part of the Regional Natural Parc of the Perigord-Limousin, a protected natural region of forests, fields and valleys.

See more Dordogne castles.

See more castles in France. You can find more travel ideas in the Dordogne guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also: 

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Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche is a small town with a collegiale church and a small historic centre to explore

Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche guide


Thiviers is a very typical Dordogne market town, best known for the foie gras produced in the surrounding countryside

Thiviers guide


The town of Excideuil in the northern Dordogne has a lively market every Thursday and is close to two of the most important castles in the region

Excideuil guide


Saint-Jean-de-Cole is a small but very pretty village with a nice church and beautiful riverside setting

Saint-Jean-de-Cole guide


Châlus is a small market town with two ruined castles in the Monts du Chalus region of Limousin

Chalus guide


The part of Segur-le-Chateau with medieval houses next to the river is especially beautiful, but elsewhere there is also much to enjoy

Segur-le-Chateau guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Dordogne

The French version of this page is at Chateau de Jumilhac (Francais)