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Photo of Excideuil

Visit Excideuil

Excideuil is a charming town with an attractive town square, and a castle dating back to the 12th century. It is in the northern part of the Dordogne department, about 30 kilometres south of Jumilhac and 15 kilometres from Hautefort.

Explore Excideuil

The town originally developed around a 10th century monastery, in a peaceful setting in the valley of the River Loue. There are a couple of reasons to visit Excideuil, apart from the interesting old-town itself with its gothic church and 16th century houses:

The first is the Thursday market, when the village leaps to life with reputedly the busiest market in the region

Excideuil

The second is the castle. High on a rocky promontory, the castle successfully repelled Richard the Lionheart on three different occasions (note that the main castle is not open to the public).

One of the oldest buildings in the Dordogne department is in Excideuil. This is the Hospital and probably dates from the 12th century when the building was a convent, the Couvent des Cordeliers. It can definitely be traced back to the 14th century. It is a very attractive building and is now a retirement home.

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Walking uphill from here you get to the main town square of Excideuil and the very attractive church which is all that remains of the 10th century monastery. Its lovely stone doorway dates to the 15th century when quite a lot of work was carried out on the church. Inside the church the altar dates back to the 12th century and belonged originally to the Couvent des Cordeliers.

The town square also has a fountain and is surrounded by lovely houses. Wandering around the streets leading from the square are a large number of imposing houses dating back to a period of wealth particularly in the 17 and 18th centuries.

Excideuil was exempted from paying taxes in 1482 by Louis XI and this coupled with the wealthy iron mining industry in the area led to a period of prosperity. Many of the buildings have interesting architectural features and the different sizes and styles of houses and rooves makes for an attractive ensemble.

Excideuil centre

A couple of the key buildings are the Commanderie des Templiers which is opposite the church testifying to the importance of the Order of the Templiers in the past. Next to this is the Commanderie de Saint Antoin who looked after the pilgrims and the needy.

There are plenty of places to stop for lunch or coffee.

Places to visit near Excideuil

Set in the rolling green countryside, the Perigord-Limousin Natural Park is nearby. Also try and visit Tourtoirac, a village to the south of Excideuil with the remains of an attractive abbey and also some caves which have opened to the public fairly recently - in 2010.

Tthe UNESCO World Heritage Chateau de Hautefort is just down the road and both the castle and its formal gardens are definitely worth visiting.

Some quieter sites that are pleasant to visit include the Roman style churches at Preyssac and Saint-Raphael, and the church and chateau at Saint-Pantaly-d'Excideuil. Also the pretty village at Coulaures and the little villages and chateaux of Saint-Jory-las-Bloux, Clermont-d-Excideuil and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.

See also: 

Photos of Excideuil

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Map of Excideuil and places to visit

 
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Excideuil places to visit

Tourtoirac

Tourtoirac

Tourtoirac is a pretty village with an abbey and caves.

Tourtoirac guide
Chateau de Hautefort

Chateau de Hautefort

The Chateau de Hautefort is one of the most prestigious in the Dordogne.

Chateau de Hautefort guide
Thiviers

Thiviers

Thiviers is the capital of foie gras and has a foie gras museum.

Thiviers guide
The Le Bouquet garden

The Le Bouquet garden

The Le Bouquet garden is a unique garden with 50 parterres and motifs created with clipped box hedges and other plants.

The Le Bouquet garden guide
Sorges

Sorges

Sorges is known as the truffle capital of France.

Sorges guide
Badefols-d'Ans

Badefols-d'Ans

Badefols d'Ans is a pretty visit with an attractive church and chateau.

Badefols-d'Ans guide
 
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