Château des 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 and the château des Milandes - Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

Josephine Baker did two things after buying the château des Milandes in 1947. She created indoor and outdoor theatrical sets to produce shows for her friends and set up the first theme park in the region. A lady out of the ordinary, she was close to Martin Luther King in her struggle for Civil Rights and devoted much of her time and energy to fighting against all kinds of discrimination.

In her 'spare' time she adopted twelve children with nine different nationalities and became totally dedicated to her "rainbow tribe". Extremely generous, she invested her entire fortune in the château. However the theme park fast became a financial drain and in 1968 she was evicted. She died in Paris in 1975.

Today the spirit of Josephine Baker lives on in Milandes where the château has become a museum dedicated to Josephine. Photographs, documents, furniture and stage costumes are on display, including the famous banana belt. Audio recordings lead you from room to room, recreating the story of her life in the castle she loved so much. Built in 1489, the house is a fine example of Renaissance architecture with magnificent gothic features.

Beautiful French gardens surround the château and just below it is an interesting show of birds of prey. Also on site: workshops for kids, shop, brasserie/restaurant open from March to November.

Les Milandes, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 

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