Villages / Bastide Towns

You will find an area rich in vineyards, orchards of plum trees, and fields of sunflowers.

Between Bergerac and Eymet, between the Dordogne and the Dropt, the canton of Sigoulès is well equipped for a good quality of life and a relaxing, enjoyable holiday.

There are seventeen villages in the Sigoulès canton:

As a reference to scale, Mescoulès to Monestier is
about 7 miles by car (11.6 Km)

CUNÈGES was the main town of the canton until 1830. The Roman Porch of the church is worthy of a visit. The Maltese cross set in the floor of FLAUGEAC and the Greek crosses found in the church yard lead one to believe that a Commanderie des Templiers existed in the locality.

GAGEAC-ROUILLAC, the Gageac and Perrou castles date from the XVth century.

GARDONNE was an old “baillivie” (royal justice). The castle was totally destroyed at the end of the hundred years war. The remaining gothic church was the chapel of this castle. Gardonne was also the loading port for the “gabares” and the quay still exists.

LAMONZIE takes its name from the convent “La Mungia” which was in existence in the XIth century. The castle of St Martin dates from the XVIIth and XVIIIth century.

MESCOULÈS has an attractive XVth century church. The manor of La Grande Pleyssade dates from the XVII th century.

The CHÂTEAU de MONBAZILLAC dating from the XVIth century dominates the hills with its prestigious vineyards. Its is one of the few castles open to the public and displays a fine selection of Perigourdin furniture.

The XI – XIIth century church of MONBOS is undoubtedly the most original one in the area. Although altered a few times the apse dating from the Roman times and the capitals of Manichean inspiration have been preserved.

In MONESTIER you will find an excellent golf complex at the Château des Vigiers. You may be interested in the four churches: Monestier, La Bastide, Couture and Sainte-Croix.

POMPORT, one discovers the XIIth century Saint-Mayne chapel, the automobile museum of Sanxet and the nearby château de Pecany. Down Sigoulès is the leisure complex with the lake, tennis courts, camping site and holiday bungalows.

PUYGUILHEM is proud of its XIIth century ramparts. In 1338, during the hundred years war, the besieging army deployed the artillery for the first time in the area.

In the commune of RAZAC-DE-SAUSSIGNAC, are the private châteaux of Bellevue, Fongrenier, Lardys, Forestier
and Chabrier.

Le Château de Bridoire at RIBAGNAC restored at the end of the XIX century perpetuates Charles de Foucauld’s
memory . You can only admire its imposing size and its medieval ramparts from the outside.

You can see the Fontaguillère cave at ROUFFIGNAC-DE-SIGOULÈS.

SAUSSIGNAC has a XVIIth century château that is home to the Tourist Office and the Federation of Wine growers.

SIGOULÈS (sex gulae, six ways in low Latin) near the leisure complex is the main centre of the Canton with everyday
amenities available. In the XIXth century , Sigoulès was an important cattle market which disappeared with the arrival of the railway in the valley. Saint Jacques church with its medieval bell tower and Lestignac church on the way to Cunèges are both worth a visit. An unusual town hall with its empire façade, a fishing pond, and the leisure centre nearby form the basis of this developing Canton.

Lastly THENAC village with its XVIth century château and its underground passages leading, apparently, to the church is an eagle’s nest overlooking the surrounding hillsides.

Bastide Towns Bastide

In 1152, Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II, who became king of England in 1154. The duchy of Aquitaine was part of her dowry and was administered by the English, under the sovereignty of the King of France. The English and the French were bitter rivals and each sought to consolidate their position. To keep the population loyal and extend their influence, they founded new fortified towns, all of which sprang up over a period of 30 years. These were the

The layout of the bastide was not left to chance. The streets were built at right angles to each other and the intersections determined the plots of land allotted to the inhabitants. The place (town square), which replaced the church as the traditional centre of the town, was the venue for fairs and festivals.

All bastides were granted a market charter and produce from all of the region were sold in their large central squares and covered market halls.

These towns have a great deal in common, but each one is different. Some are square, some are circular, on hills, in valleys, etc, etc.

Visiting each of the major bastide towns in this area is an enjoyable and worthwhile activity – with their beautiful architecture, great shops, and fabulous history.

As a reference to scale, Eymet to Castillonnès is about
11.9 miles by car (19.2 Km)

Beaumont-du-Périgord was founded in 1275 by a lieutenant of Edward I and honoured Edward’s father, Henry III, by laying out Beaumont’s wide straight streets in the form of an “H”.

Blasimon has ruined 12th-century Benedictine abbey of Saint Nicolas that offers public tours.

Castillonnès has conserved its cornières and narrow medieval lanes. The church has a 17th-century gilded retable. In mid august, its bell tower and the turret of the house across the place are used to support a high-wire where acrobats perform their acts without a net.

Eymet is a pretty bastide built by the French to oppose the numerous bastides which had built in the region by the English. It has a lovely large square with a large fountain in the centre.

La Réole was the second town in Guyenne after Bordeaux and was used an important river port. It has a very stately river façade with an 18th-century Benedictine Priory. Among the old boutiques and houses in medieval La Réole is the oldest Hôtel de Ville still standing in France. An English architect under Henry III plantagenet designed La Réole’s  Château des Quat’Sos (‘of the four sisters’), its name referring to the massive round towers at each angle, of which only one is still intact. It remained the personal property of the kings of England until the end of the Hundred Year’ War and was always heavily garrisoned; the Black Prince spent a good deal of time here.

Miramont-de-Guyenne was founded as a bastide by Edward I but it was heavily damaged during the Hundred Years’ War and retains only some old houses and a central arcaded square.

Molières is a tiny unfinished English bastide with a large Gothic church. It also is claimed to have a ghost: in the 1360′s, Queen Blanca of Castile died here, poisoned by her husband Pedro the Cruel, and she allegedly has the habit of wandering the streets.

Monflanquin is strategically planted atop a 594ft hill with views from miles around and is considered “one of the most beautiful villages in France”. Monflanquin has preserved most of its original bastide elements and is now home to numerous artists with exhibitions and festivals occurring throughout the summer.

Monpazier is considered “the most perfect bastide”. The best story of all is one recorded by the Duke of Sully worthy of a Monty Python sketch: by sheer coincidence Monpazier decided to raid Villefranche-du-Périgord, the next bastide
to the east, on the same night that Villefranche decided to do the same to Monpazier. By chance each militia took different paths; each was delighted to find their goal undefended and easy to plunder, and carried its booty back – to ransacked homes. An agreement was struck, and both sides gave back everything they stole.

Monségur is capital of la Petite Gavacherie where the inhabitants, brought in from the north in the 15th-century to resettle the land, are to this day called gavaches or gabots. Originally the word meant uncouth mountainmen, or  hillbillies. A walled bastide, Monségur was founded in 1265 by Eléonore de Provence, wife of Henry III. It has a  arcaded central place with a striking 19th-century covered market reminiscent of the old Halles in Paris.

Pellegrue is founded on a rocky spur and has several recently restored churches and three châteaux nearby on the surrounding hills.

Sauveterre-de-Guyenne founded by the English in 1283 has kept its arcaded place and its four fortified gates.

Villefranche-du-Périgord built in the 1260′s has taken a beating or two with only one row of arcades surviving
to face the stone pillared halle.

Villeréal is located along the river dropt. It has a shop filled arcade that overlook the 14th-century halle – which had an upper storey added in the 16th century.

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