Towns and villages to visit in Dordogne and Lot et Garonne

There are many beautiful, medieval towns in the area. Several have received the prestigious 'one of the most beautiful towns in France' accolade. See also Bastide Towns for a brief introduction to the history of some of the towns and villages and their origins in the hundred Years War.

This page shows some of the smaller towns and villages - many of the more important villages and towns have their own dedicated pages. See: Belvès :: Beaumont-du-Perigord :: Bergerac :: Castillonnes :: Domme :: Eymet :: Issigeac :: Molieres :: Monflanquin :: Monpazier :: Pujols :: Villefranche-du-Perigord :: Villereal

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Villefranche-du-Perigord, in the Dordogne - travel guide

A bastide town founded in 1261, Villefranche du Perigord is to the south of Monpazier and set in wooded countryside above the River Lemance.

Built largely in the local honey-coloured stone, Villefranche is centred around its main square, with its market hall and church typical of the bastide town style.

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Pujols in Lot-et-Garonne - travel guide

Perched on a hill just south of Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Pujols has lovely far-reaching views over Villeneuve-sur-Lot, the valley of the Lot, and away into the distance. Then cross to the other side of the street for almost equally far reaching views towards the south.

Occupied since prehistoric times, and later by the romans, Pujols retains its medieval heart, with numerous colombage houses along the main street, almost completely intact. There is a small central square next to the large fortified gate, by which the town is usually entered.

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Villereal, in Lot et Garonne, a bastide town in France

Villereal is located in the northern part of the Lot-et-Garonne department, near the border with the Dordogne department.

The most remarkable feature of Villereal is undoubtedly its intact 14th century market hall dominating almost all of the central square - and still used for its lively Saturday market today. A wonderful lively small town, with a myriad of back streets to explore. Certainly one of the least commercialised town among those listed here, and probably the most lively outside the May - September holiday season.

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Monpazier, in the Dordogne - a travel guide

Monpazier is a really amazing town. It has preserved its medieval centre almost completely intact. The arcades and market hall are still there, there are no cars in the centre, and there is almost nothing to stop the illusion that you have stepped back 600 years in time. Unmissable.

Monpazier is listed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'.

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Monflanquin, in the Lot et Garonne - a travel guide

Monflanquin is a medieval bastide town which means it is built in a grid pattern around a central square. Monflanquin is on quite a steep hill and so has views around the edges over the surrounding Lot-et-Garonne countryside. Monflanquin is listed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'

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Molieres, in the southern Dordogne - a travel guide

An 'English' bastide town, founded towards the end of the 13th century, Molieres was never completed. It then suffered considerably during the later wars - the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion.

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Domme, in the Dordogne - a travel guide

Domme is a little larger than many of the bastide towns, and is found perched high above the Dordogne River, with  wonderful views of the river and countryside. Unusually among the bastide towns, Domme retains part of its original fortified walls and the gateways into the town.

Perhaps the overly perfect restoration and over-commercialisation of the town reduces the feeling of authenticity that is found in, say, Monpazier. However a visit remains a 'must'.

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Castillonnes, in the Lot et Garonne - a travel guide

Castillonnes is a bastide town to the northern edge of Lot-et-Garonne, 12 kilometres west of Villereal.

Why have I chosen an old postcard to represent the town rather than a modern picture (I live within 15 kilometres of Castillonnes)? Because they have unfortunately decided that the historic centre should be a car-park, and it was more attractive in 'the olden days'! Those attractive arcades/arches on the left now lead to the tourist office.

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Bergerac, fine medieval town on the Dordogne River

Bergerac is on the Dordogne River, towards the west of our region, and is one of the larger towns in the area (along with Villeneuve-sur-Lot). Bergerac has an attractive old town running down to the banks of the river, with plenty of restaurants and small shops to explore.

There are several restaurants in 'old-town' Bergerac, set among the medieval half-timbered streets, and open-air cafes where you can pass a very pleasant hour people watching.

Up from the old town, there is a newer part to Bergerac, with more conventional streets and a larger range of 'modern' shops.

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Belves, beautiful village in southern Dordogne, France

Belves is a lovely and lively medieval town, with a well preserved bastide centre and an attractive 15th century covered market. Well worth a visit.

In the centre of the town you can visit the troglodyte dwellings, dating from the 13th century onwards. You can also see the medieval belfry and walls, the city hall, and a 14th century castle. Belves is famous as the 'town of seven bell towers'.

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Beaumont-du-Perigord, in the Dordogne - a travel guide

Beaumont was founded in 1272 by Edward I of England. Hence it was originally an English Bastide. Like all bastides it was built on the chequer-board plan. Beaumont is a pretty bastide, but not one of the best in the area.

The church was built in the English Gothic style at the end of the 13th century. Like many in the area it was also part of the towns defences. The town's old peoples' home (Maison de retraite) was originally a convent built in  about 1700. It is an elegant building, with identical windows each topped by a shell design. The sign of the pilgrim route to Compostella.

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Issigeac, fascinating medieval town in the Dordogne

Issigeac is unusual in the area, in that it is a medieval village but it is not a bastide town. So the usual 'grid patter' of streets gives way to higgledy-piggledy lanes and alleyways.

Issigeac contains numerous narrow winding streets, hemmed in by ancient colombage houses, and is a pleasure to explore.

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Eymet, town in the southern Dordogne - a travel guide

Eymet is another of the traditional bastide towns found in the Lot et Garonne region.

Eymet is a very pretty town on the edge of the Dropt River - it is also very unusual because of that - most bastide towns being on hilltops away from rivers - and the riverside makes for an attractive stroll on a summer evening.

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