The most beautiful bastides of Périgord

Monpazier
The most beautiful ba ...

In the southwest of France, in New Aquitaine, there is a region rich in historical past, Périgord (Dordogne department). The vestiges of its experience are found today with buildings such as castles or gardens, but also types of villages, called bastides. The latter, built in the 13th and 14th century, are new and trading towns. Set off to discover an incredible heritage, visit with us the most beautiful bastides of Périgord.


Photos from the article: Guide to Périgord
Opening photo: Frank / Adobestock


What is a bastide in Périgord and the South-West in general?

Let's start by revealing the mystery of bastides, these new towns from the Middle Ages (some of which are designated the most beautiful villages in France) are built according to a particular, regular and checkerboard plan, under the influence of English kings and lords and French between 1222 and 1373. There are 18 bastides which were built with these innovative geometric rules, in Périgord. First of all, the central square with the covered halls which host the markets, around which the streets and alleys are organized in a checkerboard pattern. This orthogonal network includes houses of the same size and attached to each other, thus limiting the loss of space and housing for residents. It was the Hundred Years' War which marked the end of the construction of bastides, these vestiges of the Middle Ages where commerce played a central role.

Set off to discover Périgord, we have brought together all the towns, villages and bastides in one section


The bastide of Beaumont-du-Périgord

The first English royal bastide, Beaumont-du-Périgord is particular in its construction since it follows an H-shaped plan and not a square as the bastide designation requires. This distinctive and singular sign was designed to pay homage to Henri 3 in one of the most important bastides in Périgord. Explore the city, its 13th century Gothic church and the Porte du Luzier, the only one of the 16 to have stood the test of time and which opens the city gates. Every Tuesday morning, find a pretty market on the central square surrounded by arcaded houses, before wandering through the small streets called carreyrous. And if you pass through Beaumont-du-Périgord in summer, don't miss the dramatized guided tour.

Discover our fact sheet on the Beaumont-du-Périgord bastide


Beaumont du Périgord
Beaumont Chateau de Banne


The bastide of Domme in Périgord

French bastide erected in 1281 by Philippe 3 le Bold, it is built on a cliff overlooking the Dordogne valley. Very well preserved, it reveals the heritage of the Middle Ages through its ramparts and its 3 large gates, one of which, the Porte des Tours, presents engravings of imprisoned Templars. In Domme, there are two places that you will discover during your visit. The 17th century market square which hosts the market every Thursday morning, and the Place de la Rode, also called Place de la Roue, where those condemned to quartering were tortured. Visit a country house with typical perpendicular streets, and admire the magnificent panorama offered over the Dordogne Valley.

Read our fact sheet on the bastide of Domme


Domme Guide to Périgord
Domme Guide to Périgord
Dommes Guide to Périgord


The bastide of Eymet du Périgord

South of Bergerac, the new French town of Eymet was built in 1270 by the Count of Toulouse and brother of Louis 9, Alphonse de Poitiers. Lovers of old stones will be able to appreciate a preserved historical and architectural heritage, including the 13th century fortified castle which proudly erects its 3-story tower. Respecting the geometric rule of bastides, Eymet is centered on Place Gambetta where there is a fountain, surrounded by beautiful arcaded houses. Rich in a religious past, it preserves the Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption church in the neo-Gothic style and the 12th century Romanesque church of Saint-Martin, magnificent buildings not to be missed when walking in Eymet.

A little anecdote: Eymet is one of the villages in Dordogne where there are the most British residents. Our English friends love Périgord and there is even a great English grocery store where you can find products from the other side of the Channel: A Taste of Britain!

Visit the bastide of Eymet through our information sheet


Eymet Guide to Périgord
Eymet Guide to Périgord


The bastide of Lalinde du Périgord

The first English bastide built on the banks of a river, it was built in the 13th century by Henry 3 of England. Marked by the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion, it today retains vestiges of its historical past such as its ramparts on the river side, the Porte de Bergerac and the Porte Saint-Front, near the bridge. Wind through the alleys and reach the central square and a 19th century market hall, which took the place of the 15th century market hall. Lalinde is also an 18th century castle which was remodeled in the 19th century before becoming private property.

Read our fact sheet on the bastide of Lalinde


Lalinde Guide of Périgord
Lalinde Guide of Périgord

The bastide of Molières du Périgord

Founded in 1284 by the seneschal of the King of England, Jean de Grailly, Molières is the smallest English bastide in the region. Referred to as an unfinished construction, it does not have fortifications such as walls or towers like its neighbors, but retains the charm of right-angled streets with yellow stone houses. Despite everything, you will find a castle erected in 1316 by Guilhem de Toulouse, the seneschal of Périgord under the reign of Edward 2 of England, who established his quarters in Molières. Visit the Notre-Dame-de-la-Nativité church and discover the remains of a historical heritage in an authentic town where farms and houses mix in the heart of the village.

Discover our fact sheet on the bastide of Molières


Molières Guide to Périgord
Molières Guide to Périgord


The bastide town of Monpazier in Périgord

Monpazier is undoubtedly the most beautiful bastide in the region. Ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, this English bastide founded in 1284 by Edward I of England is almost intact, standing the test of time without aging. Find the checkerboard plan typical of the period, the Place des Cornières with an avenue of chestnut trees and the carreyrous in flower, charming alleys which take you to discover life in the Middle Ages. For more than 700 years, the tradition of the market has continued on Thursday mornings where artisans and producers enliven the village in the architectural jewel of Monpazier. With its 32 buildings classified as historic monuments, the city is worth the detour.

Read our fact sheet on the bastide of Monpazier


Monpazier Guide to Périgord
Monpazier Guide to Périgord


The bastide of Saint-Aulaye du Périgord

The only bastide in Périgord Vert, Saint-Aulaye is a French bastide founded in 1288 by Pierre de Brémond. A small town of character, it is on the border between Bordeaux and Périgord, overlooking the Dronne. Stroll through the cobbled streets and discover a rich built and landscaped heritage, between the 12th century Romanesque church, the 13th and 14th century castle, the wash house park and the Double forest. Walk around Place Pasteur on Saturdays, market day when local producers enliven the village, and enjoy the aquatic complex and the beach set up in summer along the river.

Saint Aulaye Guide of Périgord
Saint Aulaye Guide of Périgord


The bastide of Vergt in Périgord

Founded in 1285 by Archambaud 3, Count of Périgord, Vergt was English and French during the Hundred Years' War, where the fortified castle was built in 1290 under the influence of the Duke of Aquitaine then destroyed by the King of France in 1399. Renowned for its traditional strawberry fair in May, it attracts many tourists every year for its events. You can discover checkerboard streets like the bastides of the time, the Saint-Jean church and its bell tower, the 19th century balconies, the wash houses and fountains as well as its old market hall on the central square.

Read our report on Périgord strawberries, to find out everything about this delicious fruit, a specialty of Périgord AOP


The Strawberry Festival in Vergt


The bastide town of Villefranche-du-Périgord

The oldest bastide founded in 1261 by Alphonse de Poitiers, it is almost unscathed and offers you the visit of a village between two great rivers, the Lot and the Dordogne. Wander the checkerboard streets, visit the local specialty shops, take part in the market under the century-old market hall on Saturday mornings and admire the 16th century houses which surround the central square of this orthogonal bastide. The Notre-Dame church also tells a story since it was built at the same time as the bastide, destroyed during the Hundred Years' War then rebuilt in 1613, before being demolished again and remodeled in the 19th century under the direction of d'Abadie. In autumn, don't miss the porcini mushroom and chestnut market, a true tradition of Villefranche-du-Périgord.

Read our fact sheet on the Villefranche-du-Périgord bastide and our article on Le Marron du Périgord, another renowned product from our region!

Villefranche-du-Périgord
Villefranche-du-Périgord


Take your cameras, you can take pretty photos while exploring the most beautiful bastides of Périgord. Whatever the season, they are adorned with a thousand colors and reveal a historical heritage typical of the Middle Ages. It’s up to you to visit them and tell us which one you prefer.


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