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Photo of Issigeac

Visit Issigeac

Issigeac is found to the south-east of Bergerac in the Perigord Pourpre region. Issigeac is a wonderful medieval village which is always particularly popular on Sunday mornings when it hosts one of the best markets in the area.

Explore Issigeac

The current town was largely built in the middle-ages, with buildings from the 13-16th century though its origins are much earlier. There are signs of pre-historic life, it was the site of a Gallo-Romain Villa and in the 10th century there was a monastery here linked to the abbey of Sarlat.

Issigeac doesn't have a readily identifiable 'town centre', rather it is a series of narrow winding streets lined with fascinating ancient buildings. Some of these have been recently restored, others give the impression that they are only standing due to the other houses hemmed in on both sides though these are becoming rare as Issigeac has experienced a surge in popularity and many houses have been bought and beautifully renovated.

Issigeac

Take the time to explore all the streets as many have surprises in the form of lovely architectural details or pretty gardens. Issigeac really is a village not to be missed if you are in this part of the Dordogne.

Many of the buildings are in whole or in part constructed in colombage (half-timber), and several have interesting carved features. In particular keep your neck craned upwards to see the 'Maison des Têtes', on the corner of the Grand Rue, with some very ancient carved heads on its upper level.

If it is open sneak down the passageway below to see an internal courtyard falling to ruin at the moment but retaining its 'Romeo and Juliet' style balconies and medieval beauty.

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In the centre of Issigeac you can see the Palais des Eveques de Sarlat (Bishops palace) which was built in the 17th century. This impressive building dates from the 1600s and was the residence of the Bishops of Sarlat. At each end of the palace is a small round tower largely built in brick which adds a warmth to the slight austerity of the large stone building. This is opposite the gothic church of St Felicien.

Take the Tour de Ville (the road which circles the town) to see a good example of 18th century architecture - the Provost's House.

Issigeac has a couple of nice tea-shops and several bars with outside terraces. There is also a wonderful really old-fashioned looking bar. All are excellent places to to pause and take the time to enjoy this lovely village. There are also a number of excellent restaurants. Issigeac is something of a foodie-destination and if you are looking for a good meal this is a good choice. The Atelier and the Bruceliere are two of our favourites.

Issigeac

Market day in Issigeac

The other big attraction in Issigeac is the Sunday market. A small local affair during the winter, in the summer it takes on another dimension and grows to fill the town almost completely - it is now the main Sunday attraction in this part of the Dordogne. Despite the large number of tourists it is still worth the visit as the market spreads throughout the medieval streets of Issigeac and adds warmth and colour. Filled with local produce you can buy everything you need.

In July and August there is a Marché nocturne, a night-time market every Thursday evening from 7 o'clock. This takes place in the square in front of the church. Tables are put out and you can buy everything you need for your evening meal and sit in the square to eat it.

Many of the local villages have these night-time markets and there is a great atmosphere. Typically you can choose foie-gras or melon or salad for starter, then wander round the other stands where the main course choices are things like paella or lamb stew or sausage and chips. Deserts will usually include crepes - a big local favourite. (Paper plates and plastic cutlery are all provided). Another stall sells wine and they open the bottle and give you plasitc cups to drink from. Basically you don't have to bring anything and can sit outside and enjoy a very reasonably priced meal.

Activities in Issigeac

The Sunday market in Issigeac is always worth a trip but at various times of the year other activities are linked to the market and many are very good. These include:

The Flower Market, Marche aux Fleurs, in the spring - see Issigeac swamped in colour.

The Foire aux Paniers et à la Vannerie in July - this is a willow weaving festival and you can buy baskets and gorgeous ornaments and plant supports for the garden. If you have children there is usually a willow-weaving workshop for children in the afternoon.

Issigeac's bodega is in July - music, food and drink all in the open air. Lots of fun.

Medieval day - Issigeac's medieval day is in August and is a great day to see the village. Lots of the locals will be dressed in medieval clothing and there is a parade which includes jugglers and street theatre. Medieval crafts and music and art are all on display. A great day, especially if you have children.

Pumpkin festival, Foire aux Potirons, in October - see pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes and colours and sample the delicious pumpkin soup.

Places to visit nearby

The market town of Bergerac is nearby and has a lovely old town and a nice position on the edge of the Dordogne river.

Eymet is a popular bastide town and has a good market on a Thursday. Nearby Beaumont du Perigord is also a charming bastide town and has an imposing church dominating its centre.

See also: 

Photos of Issigeac

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • boutique
  • centre
  • centre1
  • centre3
  • centre4
  • church
  • colombage
  • halle-aux-grains
  • heads
  • medieval-house
  • narrow-street
  • palais
  • pretty-houses
  • restaurant
  • tall-houses

Map of Issigeac and places to visit

 
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Issigeac places to visit

Le Chateau de Monbazillac

Le Chateau de Monbazillac

Monbazillac is home to the chateau de Monbazillac and its vineyards.

Le Chateau de Monbazillac guide
Chateau de Bridoire

Chateau de Bridoire

This chateau is full of medieval-related games and is good fun for visitors with children.

Chateau de Bridoire guide
Beaumont-du-Perigord

Beaumont-du-Perigord

Beaumont is an attractive bastide town with an imp...

Beaumont-du-Perigord guide
Chateau de Tiregand

Chateau de Tiregand

The Chateau de Tiregand is a wine chateau in the Dordogne.

Chateau de Tiregand guide
Lalinde

Lalinde

Lalinde is a pleasant town on the edge of the Dordogne river.

Lalinde guide
Bergerac Aqua Park

Bergerac Aqua Park

Bergerac Aqua Park is a water park with four pools set on the edge of the Dordogne river.

Bergerac Aqua Park guide
 
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