Photo of Paunat

Visit Paunat

The small but picturesque village of Paunat lies 38km east of Bergerac. It is home to a large abbey.

Explore Paunat

Paunat is a lovely village whose centre lies along a valley and its buildings rise up on both sides. It has an imposing church, the abbey church of St Martia, at its heart. The church was begun in the 12th century and added to in later centuries.

Legend has it that a pilgrim swore to build an abbey upon the spot where his pilgrim staff took root. This happened at Paunat et voila!


The abbey has had a chequered history. It existed in the 8th century but was sacked on various occasions and destroyed during the Norman invasions of 860. It was rebuilt in 991. The abbey was again destroyed in the In the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th with a bell tower-keep.

In the 14th century it had a religious community of 16 but in the 15th century it was occupied by a garrison of English soldiers who made the abbey a defensive structure and damaged the nave in the process.

In the 16th century the abbey was raided by the Huguenots and further destroyed. In the 19th century the nave collapsed completely and the abbey was in quite a state. Fortunately it has now been restored.


Right next to the abbey, in the old rectory, with the abbey walls rising up from its lovely garden is the Restaurant Julien which serves excellent food at reasonable prices. The garden has been planted in a formal style a bit like those of a cloister garden.

Wandering through the village you will see the little stream, 'Le Paunat', passing under a little bridge and under the mairie and if you wander uphill next to the church you get lovely views over the roofs and across to the houses on the other side of the valley.

Also in the village is a lavoir, the communal washing area of days gone by. Keep an eye out for the maison "La  Recette" with its arch over a covered passage and a medieval style. The houses of Paunat are built in a lovely ochre stone making this tiny village a pleasure to visit.

There are three pretty walks which start at Paunat and they are all well signed. They are 6km, 7km and 10km and so you have a good choice.


On the edge of the village is the delightful Chartreuse du Colombier which has lovely gardens surrounding an old manor house.

Places to visit nearby

Urval is another tiny but picturesque village. Urval has a wonderful communal bread oven to see and an ancient church.

The 'most beautiful village' of Limeuil is just a couple of kilometers down the road from Paunat and not only has a lovely village, it also has a river beach and, up at the top of the village are the 'Jardins Panoramique de Limeuil', a pleasant garden with great views over the river confluence.

See also: 

Photos of Paunat

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • abbey-interior
  • abbey
  • centre
  • centre1
  • lavoir
  • mairie
  • paunat4
  • paunat5
  • paunat6
  • restaurant-julien
  • restaurant
  • village
  • village1
  • village2

Map of Paunat and places to visit


Paunat places to visit

Chartreuse du Colombier

Chartreuse du Colombier

The gardens of the Chartreuse du Colombier are very pretty and made even more attractive by their charming setting.

Chartreuse du Colombier guide


Limeuil is a most beautiful village of France.

Limeuil guide
Les Jardins Panoramique de Limeuil

Les Jardins Panoramique de Limeuil

A large park with a stunning view over the river confluence below.

Les Jardins Panoramique de Limeuil guide


Tremolat is a charming village set next to a deep bend in the Dordogne river.

Tremolat guide
Grotte de Bara Bahau

Grotte de Bara Bahau

The Grotte de Bara Bahau contains engravings made by prehistoric man.

Grotte de Bara Bahau guide
Le Bugue

Le Bugue

Le-Bugue is a vibrant market town on the edge of the river Vézère.

Le Bugue guide