Joséphine Baker - château Milandes

Josephine Baker, an exceptional lady!

Walk in the footsteps of Josephine Baker, American music-hall singer and dancer, first black woman to become internationally famous and discover where she lived: the château des Milandes in the Dordogne, 16 km south of Sarlat.

Josephine Baker, the story of Cinderella

Josephine Baker was born in America to a poor black family. At the age of seven she had to work as a maid for wealthy families. From the age of 12 she became a street child. Then she started dancing to earn money. From the age of 14, she performed as a revue girl in Saint Louis and then went after New York. In broadway she got a job that allowed her to travel to Europe. Because discrimination played a big role in America, she decided to stay in France where she became famous for her banana skirt and her erotic dances.

Ultimate recognition for this extraordinary personality: her entry into the Pantheon * on November 30, 2021. Joséphine Baker will be the sixth woman to enter it out of nearly 80 personalities.

*The Pantheon is a monument in the 5th arrondissement of Paris dedicated "To great men" for the grateful homeland. It houses the remains of those who have marked the history of France such as Victor Hugo, Pierre and Marie Curie or Louis Braille.

A combative woman

She joined the resistance for France during the Second World War. She is also committed to the rights of African Americans. She adopts 12 children of 9 different nationalities, known as the rainbow family, to prove that everyone is equal. In fact, in 1963, she is the only black woman to make a statement during the protest march to Washington with Martin Luther King!

In 1947 she buys the Château des Milandes. She is converting it into a fabulous tourist complex. She generously invests her entire fortune in the castle. Unfortunately, the amusement park soon turns out to be a bottomless pit and in 1968 she is evicted from her castle. She died in 1975 in Paris.

The castle Milandes

Visit the Renaissance castle and follow in the footsteps of Josephine Baker. An audio tour tells you all about the artist's extraordinary fate. Discover her stage costumes, including the famous banana belt she wore during the Folies Bergère show.

The castle, surrounded by formal gardens, is distinguished by its Gothic Revival architecture and its large stained glass windows. A nice bird of prey show is given on the castle square.

Les Milandes, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 

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