In addition to its Medieval-Renaissance old town, Périgueux also has a Gallo- Roman quarter which traces are still visible in elevation views! I start my circuit at the Tourist Office where I pick up a map that allows me to follow the steps of my Petrucorien ancestors!
I go up the Rue de la Cité and find myself in front of the Saint-Etienne Church. Its dome reminds me the one of Saint-Front and looking at its façade, I can see that a piece is missing. I learn through the explanation boards that its domes and its bell tower were destroyed. Its architecture is however very well made with beautiful semi circular arches. Inside, I can see the grave of the bishop Jean d’Asside and a beautiful organ. However, it is a bit dark, as the light makes it difficultly through the stained glass window!
My map indicates the garden of the Arenas! This garden is original; it is surrounded by houses and is used now as a roundabout! I am in the former quarter dedicated to games and entertainment! This space mixes both a relaxing park and an archaeological site. There are benches everywhere, children’s playgrounds and a superb fountain feeding a body of water! It is an excellent public park, ideal to rest, relax or picnic just two steps away from the town centre!
I carry to try to find the gate called “Normande” dating from the Bas Empire and Barbar invasions. Just nearby, there is the Gallo-Roman wall. A board indicates the gate of Mars but I do not think this one is visible. It must be on private property, I did not find it!
The next stop is the ruined 12th century Barrière Castle. There is a contrast between the age of this building destroyed time and all the contemporary urban developments around! Its flamboyant gothic door is superb; I really like its sculptures. For many years it has been used as an open-air theatre, an excellent idea! The Périgueux medieval fair also takes place in front of the castle in summer! A not to be missed event!!
I end my circuit with my Gallo-Roman ancestors going by Vésone and its beautiful floral park. It is another ideal green space for picnic or for relaxing afternoons with family or frinds. The 2nd century tower beautifies the landscape, I feel really small next to it. The explanations help to reconstruct the full original tower, the columns around used as ambulatory to the worshippers are also the missing! It took me a little bit more than hour to do the whole Gallo-Roman circuit. This last one completes the medieval part of Périgueux and brought me back to the origins of the town! This shows once more the very rich heritage of the capital of the Perigord, the ancient and medieval vestiges integrate perfectly with the modern urban developments. This is here all the charm and success of Périgueux!