Hiking in Monpazier : Discover one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, in the Pays des Bastides

Monpazier
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Hiking in Monpazier : ...

We take you on a beautiful hike in Monpazier, but also on the surrounding wooded hillsides. Monpazier is a country house and is one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. We know why when we visit this perfect representation of what these new towns were, drawn with a line and very parallel streets, which converge in a central point: the square with the arcades. We take you on foot, but also in a vintage vehicle. With us, Jeannot Vergne who offers vintage car rentals at his farm : La Ferme de Tandou which is located just at the entrance to Monpazier. Our host reveals all the secrets of the village and then off to a beautiful walk to the neighboring Château de Biron !


A hike in Monpazier  

Do you want to take a completely Périgordine hike, which alternates a piece of town and a country route? See you at Monpazier! The bastide is surrounded by hiking trails and, taking advantage of the views from above, you will have the opportunity to see far, to appreciate the grandiose landscape of early spring...  

Monpazier is a bastide founded in 1284. It is one of the best preserved bastides in the south-west : a real open-air book, which is revealed to those who take the time to walk there... Monpazier is an architectural model that has inspired many other bastides!


monpazier

Monpazier, from the Ferme de Tandou

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To discover Monpazier, several solutions :

  • There is a promenade, materialized by signs in the center of the village
  • There is a map and even a playbook for children, which is available at the Tourist Office
  • There are guided tours organized in summer (and all year round by reservation for groups of more than 12 people)
  • There are also local guides and today, I will take you with me to meet Jeannot Vergne, who is also the creator of the Ferme de Tandou, guest rooms and table d'hôtes in Monpazier (just in front of the village, perfect view of the bastide!). We leave in Méhari for a hike of about 12 kilometers.  

discover monpazier

Signs for exploring the city at any time of the year

central monpazier square

Discovering Monpazier is a great idea in the spring!

Monpazier is a perfect example of what a medieval bastide is. It respects a plan of 400m long by 200m wide and its square plots of 160m2 are well delimited. Go near the Church of St. Dominic and look on the ground for the place where it all started. Build a bastide? Nothing could be simpler, at the time we planted a pole in the ground and tied a rope with a knot and presto, we pulled this line to align the facades and the streets!  

Did you know The name of Monpazier comes from the Pazier monks of the nearby collegiate church, they were justices of the peace in the village (Mont de la Paix -> Monpazier!)


monpazier creation point

This is where it all started

  monpazier entrance

One of the 3 Monpazier entry doors (out of the 6 initials + 2 small ones)

The houses, kinds of stalls, all of their facades overlooking the main street, it was an obligation of the time! Do you know why the bastides have an arcaded square where the main streets converge? This is so that traders, who display their goods in front of their stalls, are not hampered in their commercial activities in the event of rain. The main streets allowed carts and carts to transport the goods to traders and the market. If you look closely at the angles of the streets of the arcaded square, you will notice that some are higher than others : this is so that armed people do not have to lower the banner when crossing the square!  


place des arcades

A real country house, with its lively arcaded square (in summer, the square is full!)

monpazier

Straight and partly paved streets, Monpazier has benefited from subsidies for its renovation, for our greatest pleasure...

On one of the houses under the arcades, we can see the beams and construction materials of the time : the cob. A mixture of water, clay and natural fibers such as straw. Abundant materials that are easy to find in the region, good sound and heat insulation. The facades are made of limestone which has a little yellow roughness, it is because it is full of iron oxide... Nice isn't it? And the hall, have you noticed how the beams it is made of are whitewashed? This is because the construction beams (in chestnut it seems that it keeps spiders away) were submerged in the river or in a lake for about thirty years, to solidify it (they were far-sighted at the time). Also go see the grain measures, which are vintage.  

the good idea


Read our article on the Most Beautiful Villages of France in Périgord, of which Monpazier is one!

bleached beam

The Torchis, the main building material of the Middle Ages

hall of monpazier

The Hall and its chestnut beams

grain measure

Elements for measuring grain, the measuring cup from the Middle Ages!

place monpazier

Shall we sit down for a moment to enjoy?

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Continue your walk in the alleys, which one calls here the Carreyroux, sometimes they are surmounted by a " trigger guard ", a kind of closed bridge, which one built at the marriage of 2 neighboring families, to pass from a house to house. The weekly market is not a difficult meeting to remember in Monpazier, for 700 years it has been held every Thursday morning!  

We leave the village by one of the 3 doors (on the 6 initials), towards the heights of the village. The view is beautiful! Look in the distance, what is this imposing building on its promontory? It is the Château de Biron. The hiking trails are well marked in the Dordogne. We more or less followed the route of the Boucle de la Véronne. Monpazier is a small town of only 53 hectares (the hike is largely on Marsalès), around there are beautiful buildings, a pretty chapel, and even a hippodrome.

Back to Monpazier, we cross the “ Porte du Paradis ”, but what is it? A legend says that this door which ended the exit channel of the sewers of the bastide, was not kept unlike the others. People wishing to enter the bastide tried to go through there and then hid in the city. If for 1 year they were not found and thrown out, they could then stay there! Fortunately today you can enter and exit as you wish, without going through the sewers...


church   church

Monpazier church

carreyroux

The little Carreyroux of Monpazier

carreyrous walk   carreyrous

Visit Monpazier with a Guide or using the explanatory panels

hiking signs

On the way for a hike around the city and impossible to get lost thanks to the signage

monnpazier and biron

Monpazier and far away ??? The Château de Biron!

Monpazier forest

The small paths are available to you

staircase

The stairs that lead to a chapel on the way

building

We meet beautiful buildings on the road

hiking

On the way! It's flat, don't worry ;)

countryside view

The view of the countryside, on the way back to the Bastide de Monpazier

gate of paradise

The famous gate of Paradise

Rent a vintage car in Périgord  

Jeannot is a fan of vintage cars and he succumbed to 3 models dear to his heart : the 2ch, the 4l and the Méhari. He owns one of each, which he rents for the day or a discovery tour of the “ old school ” region. Jeannot worked for almost 20 years at the Tourist Office, he was born in the Ferme de Tandou, as much to tell you that he knows the region well! This is why when he rents his vehicles, he also provides discovery maps of the sector. All you have to do is choose one of the itineraries prepared by Jeannot, which consists of a map and explanations of the areas of interest not to be missed. Useful when you do not know the Pays des Bastides well!  


mehari   mehari

We walk around and have fun! Classic cars are fun to drive...

We set off in Méhari, what a funny all- plastic car! I sit behind the wheel and we continue our day towards Biron. I see the castle taking shape in the distance, we approach… Biron is a barony of Périgord, it is a very interesting castle to visit and the village which surrounds it is charming. We land near the castle, on a picnic area and we taste " homemade " products brought by Jeannot. La Ferme du Tandou also offers table d'hôtes and I recommend that you go there, because Jeannot and Simone are practically 100% independent : they produce their vegetables, make their own preserves and serve real Périgord gastronomy!  

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Read our report and video on the Château de Biron (fr)

mehari

It will take time to adapt to change gears, in 5 minutes it's good!

castle of biron

The Château de Biron which stands in the distance

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After our hike, the snack is welcome, we take the time to appreciate the view of Agenais which looms in the distance. Back at the Farm, I promise myself, next time, to rent the 4L for a family trip ;)  


picnic   picnic

This is the Périgord Attitude!

cards   cards

Jeannot will prepare maps for you, so that you don't get lost and enjoy the best route and explanations of the points of interest crossed.

Learn more  


4L

And here is the 4L! To go on the small roads that smell of hazelnuts


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