Architecture Around the World

Maison Forte de Reignac - Table of Contents

2015 photos
Interior - Maison Forte de Reignac
(pron. ray nyac)
24620 Tursac, France - about 150 km east of Bordeaux

Listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1964

On this page below:


    Main Reception Room

    Grand Salon

    Lady's Bedroom

     Miscellaneous Rooms and Furnishings

The Maison Forte de Reignac
is a kind of fortified Manor House that has been built into the rock. The majority of its roof is the overhanging cliff that is above it. Its modest appearance on the outside belies the scale of the building on the inside.

The front of the house was built in the 14th century and its windows added in the 16th century, though the rock shelter has been occupied since historic times.

A tour of the building reveals many rooms with their period furnishings but each room has the odd anomaly of a stone wall or stone roof as most are built of stone at the front with windows etc but at the back of the room the wall or ceiling is the rock of the cliffs into which the house has been built.

The combination of the rock roof and rear walls and various defensive features of the chateau mean that it is one of the strongest of the Dordogne.

The rooms include kitchen, dining room, living room and chapel amongst others.


The Dordogne region of south-west France is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in the country. ...  chateaux, beautiful medieval towns and villages, unspoiled countryside and prehistoric caves ...


With its earthen floor, a somber and modest room ...
A large fireplace with irons, hanging cooking pot, sideboards, a game table, benches and bread racks made up the the main part of the furnishings.
The chateau personnel ate their meals here ...
it was also somewhere that was heated all year long and could serve as a sleeping area for the cook and her helpers ...
Furniture throughout the house is period appropriate - not original.

Gothic Kitchen

Gothic Kitchen ... Sideboard/la credence ... Detail below:

Sideboard/la credence - a rare piece from the 16th century ... Incised decorative center panel ... Linenfold carving on cabinet doors

Gothic Kitchen ...  Note fireback - detail below:

Fireback decorated with fleurs-de-lis and lion, both popular elements of French coats-of-arms

Gothic Kitchen ...  A number of cabinets in the maison are similar to this one

Gothic Kitchen

Main Reception Room

Main Reception room ...  Left wall faces outside of the house

Sink ... Note drain hole that is on outside wall

Main Reception room

X-chair  ... Chair different angle in photo below:

Note Middle Ages stone flooring made up of 17,000 small limestone pieces

Main Reception room ... Trestle table with benches

Display cabinet detailed below:

Is decoration 20th Century press-back(?)  or applied(?) decoration on the cabinet ... Stationary turnings flank door ...

Main Reception room ...  English Jacobean(?)  chair with turnings ... Crest detail below:

Crest: Hand carved cartouche and foliation

Main Reception room ... See double width cabinet above in kitchen  ... Detail below:

Main Reception room ... See similar sideboard above in kitchen  ... Detail below:

Linenfold design on doors

Main Reception room

Upholstered armchair

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon ...  Ceiling is cliff rock ... During the Renaissance period, the building's previously forbidding exterior was opened up with windows. Note how bright the room is.

Note blue-colored hole in rock ceiling which is detailed below:

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon

Note rope used to lower and raise chandelier  ... Detail below:

Le Grand Salon ... Straddle chair with leather embossed seat ... Seat detail below:

Lady's Bedroom

19th Century furnished bedroom of the lady of the house

Lady's Bedroom ...  Four-poster bed  ... Prie dieu/payer stool detailed below:

Prie dieu

Lady's Bedroom ...  Commode chair:  This type of chair containing a chamber pot is termed in French a "chaise percée"

19th Century furnished bedroom of the lady of the house

19th Century furnished bedroom of the lady of the house ... Cliff walls

Miscellaneous rooms and furnishings

Gothic style cabinet ... Two details below:

  Gothic style cabinet ... Detail #1 ... Cresting ... Shingles ... Trefoil arch ... Crockets

Gothic style cabinet ...  Detail #2

Bedroom/dormitory ... Note cliff wall ...
It has been estimated that about 10 people slept here. The groom spent his nights in the stable with the horses. This dwelling served as a common room for both legitimate and illegitimate children but also for the valet, the falconer, the chambermaid and domestic servants.

There is no heating system, but the chimney conduit of the fireplace in the room below passed through the dormitory and gave some degree of heat when it was lit.

It remains impossible to find the period beds  - simple wooden cases with thin straw mattresses - that were used

Cabinet ... Three details below:

Detail #1

Detail #2: Burning torch acroteria ... Anthemion atop pediment ...  Carved face in tympanum

Detail #3

Photos and their arrangement © 2015 Chuck LaChiusa
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