Constant attacks on all fronts weakened the Roman empire, and these intensified after about 300 years of occupation. Various tribes from eastern europe invaded the region, constantly attempting to take the fertile lands from the Roman occupiers.

The Vandals and Visigoths were the most successful at displacing the Romans. Many of the fine villas and towns that had been established were destroyed, and new towns started to be developed with defensive walls and fortifications. There are many examples of fortified towns to be seen in the Dordogne region.

Montcaret is one of the towns that suffered Visigoth invasions and is home to some Visigoth tombs.

The vandals and visigoths had a short lived victory, because by the beginning of the 6th century they too were defeated by the Francs.

The Moors from the south were soon to follow, and took control of the area in the eighth century, before being themselves defeated. A tumultuous time of change in the Dordogne region of France, with Charlemagne expanding the boundaries further.


The Vikings then invaded from the north during the 10th century, burning villages and destroying everything else in their path as they moved along the Dordogne and Isle rivers. Notably the Abbey of Brantome was destroyed by the Vikings and the current abbey was rebuilt in the 10th and 14th century.

The vikings too were eventually repelled. As part of the repulsion of the Vikings, four 'baronies' were established - Beynac, Biron, Mareuil and Bourdeilles. This provided the backdrop for much of what happened in the region over the following centuries, with powerful central families controlling much of the Dordogne.

By 1000 AD a number of towns that we still recognise had been established across the region.

Continue to Middle ages in the Dordogne or return to History of the Dordogne