Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Castlenaud Castle, France

Castlenaud was one of our favorite castles to see in the Dordogne region of France.  It had a small mid evil city with a beautiful castle inside. The best part of the castle, was that it was furnished with original furnishings and had a whole arsenal of mid evil weapons to captivate the young minds.
This is our picture from the parking lot as we were set to walk into the mid evil city.These cities were obviously planned out way before cars were invented, so most of them require you to park outside the city and walk throughout it.  It is an amazing experience to see these old dwellings and see how people would have lived.  This city still has inhabitants that live in the old stone buildings.

This is by far the largest cross bow we have ever seen.  Max was astounded by it.  I could just see his mind working on what he could shoot with it, and what he could shoot from it.  There was a castle a couple of kilometers off that Castlenaud was constantly at odds with, so I am sure that it was used to battle the neighbors at some point.  It was also perfectly situated to shoot the boats on the river beneath, if their aim was good enough.

I believe this was the first scatter gun invented.  

The armor in this castle was impressive.  We learned that it took months of work to make one suit of armor.  It also gave us a look at how short the knights were in comparison to today's population.
Here is a mid evil kitchen, complete with wild boar and other game.  The kitchen was a rather large room as it was busy to make meals as well as many of the kitchen staff would sleep here.  From the castle the views were amazing!  We could look out and see other villages with their castles, the river, fields, and wooded hills.  I can only imagine how stunning it is in the summer or fall.

In the summer they demonstrate how these Trebuchets work and other war machines.  We were fortunate to see some instructional videos in the castle, but the fact that they had built functioning war machines was astounding.  They were usually broken apart, and dragged to each war site, where they would be put back together and then put to use.  The idea was that they could keep throwing stones at the castle wall until the wall would break open and they could run in from there.  The fast Trebuchet workers could get one shot off every 1/2 hour, so conquering a castle would have taken a long time.

Jonah is sitting on a Trebuchet stone that would have been tossed.  What a task 
to find, load, and shoot that.
They also had various cannon displays that were big enough to load children in.  
I think because it was the low season, they didn't pay much attention to 
us, so our children took their liberties with what they found.
It really was such an impressive castle, and they did a great job of
 teaching us about living in, and defending a castle of this size.

Outside of the castle was a very nice French fellow who had a wood lathe that invited us over for a demonstration.  He was kind enough to show us how he makes wooden tops.  It cost 5 euro for a top, which we happily gave him since he was kind enough to allow each our children to participate in using the lathe.  At the end he through in two more tops for free because even he could tell that one top wouldn't be enough with 5 children.

In the bathroom at the castle Jonah loved to play this game where he plants himself in the stall  and then opens the door ever so slightly when he is on the toilet, and reaches his little hand out and says, "Someone pull my finger!"  He thinks it is hilarious, as does everyone else.  But little legs get tired tromping through a castle.  Below the castle and the old city we found a big grassy field.  It is always funny how the kids can't walk another step but as soon as they are given room to run their legs can go and go.  We ran and played in the field after our tour of the castle in this beautiful meadow next to the Dordogne river.

The Dordogne region is full of quartz and crystals.  There is a 
local shop that cracks these stones open and sell them.

This tidbit from Aaron really belonged in the last post, but we are going to leave it right here for now.
The Dordogne region is know for its duck and goose products.  They serve a lot of canard "duck" at the restaurants, as well as duck pate and foi groi (overstuffed goose liver).  We learned that the goose has an expandable stomach and does not have a gag reflex, so 3 weeks before they intend to butcher the bird, they put a funnel down its throat and force grain down 3 times a day.  This makes the liver become engorged, and when they kill the bird they harvest the liver.  It is said that the liver "tastes like butter, and costs like gold".  It is quite a delicacy in this region and statues of the birds are in the main town center.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, the "pull my finger" trick is hilarious!!!