Photo of Bretenoux

Visit Bretenoux

Bretenoux is in the Lot department close to the Dordogne border. It is a small bastide town sat on the confluence of the rivers Cère and Dordogne.

Explore Bretenoux

Bretenoux is a small bastide town with a cobbled square surrounded by pretty 13th century buildings some with arcades. There is a 16th century town hall and the attractive Consuls house with its pointed turrets to see. The town square is called the Place des Consuls.

Sadly despite some very attractive houses the large cobbled square is used as a car park for the village and without a central halle (present in lots of the bastide towns) to detract from this it falls short of the attractiveness of many of the bastides. Visit on a Tuesday or a Saturday morning however and the square is filled with colourful market stalls rather than cars and you can see the town at its best.

Place des Consuls, Bretenoux

There are a couple of nice looking bars and restaurants on the square if you are looking for somewhere to stop for lunch or a drink. Alternatively head to Bretenoux on a Tuesday night in July and August and Bretenoux makes the most of its riverside position with night markets where you can sit and eat on the quais along the river edge - a lovely setting for a meal al-fresco.

The church of Bretenoux is dedicated to Saint Catherine and the oldest parts date back to the 15th century. The western facade has been renovated in the 18th century. Inside the stained glass windows date from the 20th century and feature many of the saints and the ceiling of the nave was painted in the 1920s and features scenes of both Joan of Arc and Saint Catherine.


Bretenoux was home to the author Pierre Loti during various summers he spent with his uncle and features in a number of his books. The house he lived in is on the corner of rue de l'Orlinde and rue Pierre Loti.

Bretenoux is a walled town and sits beneath the Chateau of Castelnau-Bretenoux, a chateau originating from the 12th century and one time home to Jean Mouliérat who restored the castle in the 19th century. The view of the Chateau on top of the hill above Bretenoux is a splendid one.

You can visit the castle. It has seven rooms open to the public, all of which have been decorated and furnished in medieval style. The castle itself is very impressive and has thick defensive walls and nine towers.


Sitting on the confluence of the Cère river and the Dordogne river opens up various activities such as fishing and canoeing and there is also an island - the Isle de la Bourgnatelle which is a perfect spot for a picnic.

If you find yourself nearby on a night-time a few of the villages between the Cere river and the Dordogne river, including Bretenoux, are illuminated at night giving them a whole different atmosphere.

Bretenoux is actually in the Lot department but sits in Dordogne valley.

Places to visit nearby

Close to Bretenoux are the 'most beautiful villages' of Loubressac, Autoire and Curemonte. This area is particularly rich in beautiful villages which makes it a treat to explore. It is also rather quieter than the area around Belves and Domme on the Dordogne river.

Visit Copeyre-Quercyland at Souillac which is an aqua park with other activities such as canoeing, a tree-adventure park and a spa.

See also: 

Photos of Bretenoux

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • arcades
  • bretenoux-(2)
  • bridge
  • centre
  • colombage-houses
  • eglise-sante-catherine
  • eglise-sante-catherine1
  • eglise-sante-catherine2
  • gateway
  • hotel-de-ville
  • maison-de-consuls
  • place-des-consuls
  • river
  • tower
  • turret

Map of Bretenoux and places to visit


Bretenoux places to visit



Loubressac is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Loubressac guide


Autoire is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Autoire guide


Carennac is one of the most beautiful villages of France

Carennac guide
Gouffre de Padirac

Gouffre de Padirac

The Padirac caves are entered by boat! They are extremely popular.

Gouffre de Padirac guide


Curemonte is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Curemonte guide
Dordogne Valley

Dordogne Valley

The Dordogne valley contains some beautiful villages and views.

Dordogne Valley guide