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Urval is a tiny village in the south of the Dordogne department near to Siorac-en-Perigord.
Urval is a small village but it is set in a valley in the beautiful Dordogne countryside and boasts some delightful Perigourdine style houses. It also has three particular monuments that make the village well worth a visit if you are in the neighbourhood. These are its church, its castle and its communal bread oven.
The church is the eglise Notre Dame de la Nativité and it is a fortified Roman style church and dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Take a look inside, it is beautifully simple and has some attractively carved chapiters at the front. Two of the columns are unusually made of black marble and are thought to have originally been used in a different building. Above the main church area were defensive rooms which were a refuge for the village when under attack.
For me the highlight of the village is the communal bread oven, 'the four banale'. Most villages had a communal bread oven which was owned by the seigneur (the lord) of the village and all the villagers had to pay a fee to use the oven. Often the village hall and the mill were also owned by the seigneur and had a charge for their use too. These charges were one of the most hated of the 'droits seigneurieux' (lord's rights) in France.
Urval's bread oven dates from the 14th century and unusually in Urval is accommodation for the 'fournier' - the man who looks after the oven. This is still there complete with its wooden pigeonnier.
Wandering down through the village there are some lovely stone houses with steeply sloping perigourdine roofs and below the church is a stream and the mill and even a familly of swans to complete the picture!
On the edge of Urval is the Chateau de la Bourlie which is a private chateau dating from the 15th century. Its gardens are nominated 'remarkable gardens in France' and are open at certain times of the year, generally for a couple of weeks in Spring and Autumn. See the local tourist office for details.
The gardens are nice though not exceptional but the chateau is very attractive and so views of the garden set against the chateau make it well worth a visit.
Places to Visit near Urval
Urval is 8km from Belves just south of the Dordogne river.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.