One of my favorite films is Ever After (À tout jamais in French) starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston. The settings, the music, the costumes, the acting and especially the modern retelling of the Cinderella story have stayed with me these many years. It wasn’t until recently I learned that much of the principal photography took place in the Dordogne region of Périgord. The scene where Prince Henry plays tennis with another courtier takes place at the Château de Fénelon while many of the other castle scenes were shot at the Château de Hautefort. Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Fénelon and this summer I had to opportunity to visit Hautefort. It was a fairy tale treat walking the same courtyards, French and English gardens, and elegantly decorated rooms that could be seen in the film. Forgive me if I say this was, by far, one of the most beautiful châteaux in the region as it is unlike any other with their medieval-style architecture. Château de Hautefort seems more like a château brought straight from the Loire region with its harmonious combination of architectural styles—Renaissance and Classical—which contributes to the building’s original and elegant appearance. It is indeed a fine example of stately 17th century Périgord. During the 16th and 17th centuries two architects, neither of whom were native to the Périgord region, Nicolas Rambourg (Lorraine) and Jacques Maigret (Parisian) transformed the defensive aspects of the château in keeping with the popular architectural forms found mostly in the Loire region. A former medieval château existed here in its place, with a keep, drawbridge and several towers. Today, the Tour de Bretagne is the only relic left of the former construction. It dates back to the end of the 14th century or the beginning of the 15th century. The cupola was added in 1678. Here, the roof structure is on display to the public. The beams are made from oak and chestnut. On November 29, 1836, the famous Eugène Le Roy was born in this tower. His parents resided here working as domestics for the owners: the Baron and Baroness of Damas. He is most famous for his novel Jacques Le Croquant which has been made into a television movie, film and even a comic book for children. During the 9th century, the fortress belonged to the powerful viscounts of Limoges and then, to the Lords of Born who fought over its possession in the 12th century. The most memorable was Bertran de Born, who became a famous troubadour. It wasn’t until the late 17th century that Maigret brought symmetry to the château by building a second wing (the chapel wing) with a tower to mirror the Tour de Bretagne. Between the two towers, a terrace was set up to give a clear view of valley and woodlands to the south. From the courtyard, one overlooks part of the French gardens planted in the early 20th century by Baron Henri de Bastard and his wife who bought the château and decided to restore it. As its restoration neared completion in 1968, a huge fire swept through the main building. With support from villagers living down below, national televised fundraisers, state funding and a huge volunteer force of specialized workers, the château was completely restored. Before passing away in 1999, the Baroness de Bastard bequeathed the château and its grounds to a foundation established especially for its future preservation. The terraces of the château are laid out as French-style gardens, planted with flowers and box shrubs forming geometric patterns and offering views of the surrounding countryside. There is even a covered path along the left of the front courtyard. On the east terrace, a box hedge is planted in the form of a gushing fountain, a symbol of Baroness de Bastard’s dream of building a fountain in this spot. Inside the château, the apartments have been carefully restored and are on view. On the first floor one can visit the grand fireplace room, master bedroom, drawing room, study and a ladies bedroom. The drawing room is decorated with Louis XVI period furniture, which includes one couch and eight armchairs covered in Beauvais tapestry. The décor of this particular room, thought to be that of Marie d’Hautefort, dates from the middle of the 17th century. The walls are covered with an indigo and bright red Le Manach fabric. On the ground floor is the dining room. The 17th century panelling that had survived the fire of 1968 was reinstalled during the renovations. It features trompe l’œil panels decorated with cartouches framing small landscapes. Underneath the chateau is an underground network of tunnels leading to the former kitchen, as well as several storage rooms and serving areas, which are found underneath the present chapel. The Baron of Damas installed the altar in the chapel during the early 19th century while its copula was painted in trompe l’œil so that it would appear to be a coffered dome. It center is crowned with the symbol of the Holy Trinity.