The Eagles' Dungeon

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by M Two One, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. M Two One

    M Two One Guest

    Le Donjon des Aigles (The Eagles' Dungeon)


    History

    Built around the year 1000, the Castle of Beaucens was at various epochs converted and enlarged. For many centuries it was the home of the Viscounts of Lavedan. In the XVI century, during the upheavals brought about by the reformation, the Castle was plundered and the title deeds destroyed. One of the most unpopular Viscounts of Lavedan was the 31st and last one, the Prince of Rohan-Rochefort. When the Revolution started, he fled to Austria. In 1972, the Castle was set ablaze and the documents that disappeared will keep its mysteries forever. After the earthquake in 1854 the Castle of Beaucens was renovated by M. Achill Fould and nowadays belongs to the Eagles' Dungeon.


    Setting (from website)

    There is a medieval castle in the Pyrénées that has been standing on a rocky outcrop for the last 10 centuries overlooking the village of Beaucens in the Hautes Pyrénées. It houses one of the most prestigous collections of birds of prey : Kites, Vultures, Eagles, Fish Eagles, Falcons and Buzzards with Parrots in the summer. Situated just 15 kms from Lourdes, near Argelès-Gazost, the imposing ruin offers a panoramic view of the valley and the Pyrenean range.

    Between the ancient walls of the castle you will discover one of the most prestigious collections of diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey from around the world. The birds of prey are on show in an attractive and original way, most of them without cages or bars, following the traditional methods of falconry. You can observe and take photographs at a close distance. For each species (approximately 50), parchments are displayed giving you information on the general biology of each bird.

    Each afternoon, an exceptional bird show presented with background music is held - rich on beauty and emotion. You can admire the lords of the air that fly before you at complete liberty. Falconry is a long and difficult art to learn and is inherited from the falconers of the Middle Ages. It is based on patience and gentleness and you will enjoy watching these magnificent birds at liberty.


    My Photos

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    I absolutely love this place. The birds are kept in perfect condition and are really happy. The birds fly often for shows and are allowed to stay out as long as they please, except the small parrots if there is a storm. This place even has one of those rare Secretary birds. However, I couldn't get a picture of it smashing it's food, a snake (an example shown by the falconers to the public using a fake snake) to bits, which was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

    The Bald Eagle is definitely the most imposing of any of these birds. Also take notice of the little baby owl in the cage still with his baby feathers. I added a picture taken from the car during the drive to the Dungeon as well as the dog that guards the entrance to the main attraction area. The dog in the video posted below is a French Pyrénées (regional dog) and for those of you interested, one of them prized second in Westminster three years ago.

    The show is great as well. They have this particular falcon show off why he's the fastest bird of prey in the world. Next they show off the intelligence of the Egyptian Vulture. He takes a rock and uses it to smash open an Ostrich egg. Then they release dozens of parrots including Cockatoos and African Greys. There was this really small parrot that children were allowed to feed, but I don't know the name of it. Very stunning colors though. Of course there is a lot more to write about, but it has to be seen rather then completely read to truly enjoy.

    The Castle is atop a peak on one of the mountains in the area and the views are breathtaking. Take a look at the website for pictures of that because I was so caught up with the birds I totally forgot. Not a big deal though. The visit with the show is only €10 and kids get in for €6. Definitely worth the price. I recommend everyone try to visit this place at least once in their life, especially when or if you have children.

    I hope you've enjoyed the information and of course the photos I've selected to show.

    Photo album video on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzrHpE4GDqM
     
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  3. Laetca

    Laetca Guest

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    Sorry, couldn't resist myself.

    No seriously, the pictures are great! Good to see they found a way to raise money to protect the birds without trapping them in a zoo or something.
     
  4. M Two One

    M Two One Guest

    You couldn't help yourself with the other photos as well.
     
  5. Laetca

    Laetca Guest

    Not kidding when I say I don't know what you mean.

    When did you visit France?
     
  6. M Two One

    M Two One Guest

    No worries, no harm meant.

    Anyway, I lived in the southwest of France for a few years with my fiancée. She's originally from the region, so there wasn't an issue for a place to stay. I found a good job for a while in order to remain in the country. That was a great experience.
     
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