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Photo of Villefranche-du-Perigord

Visit Villefranche-du-Perigord

Villefranche is a bastide town that was founded in 1261.

It is located in attractive countryside to the south of Monpazier - a region not often reached by tourists, but actually one of the most scenic parts of the Dordogne region, with large areas of forest and several pretty villages.

Explore Villefranche du Perigord

Villefranche-du-Perigord is a bastide town which was founded in 1261 by Alphonse de Poitiers. The town has built up around its central square, 'La Place de la Halle' with its traditional open-sided market hall. Around the edges are arcaded houses dating back to the 13th century, and a 19th century church, the église Notre Dame.

Villefranche du Perigord

The houses were built with these deep arched arcades to allow traders to operate protected from the weather. They are a common feature to the bastides in the area and you can see particularly beautiful examples in Monpazier nearby.

The original church of Villefranche du Perigord was built in 1261 but was severely damaged by the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion and was rebuilt in 1613. Unfortunately the population was very poor at the time due to all the conflicts and in the 19th century it was decided that the church was dangerous and was rebuilt using plans by 'd'Abadie' who was the architect for the Sacré Coeur of Montmartre in Paris.

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The halle in the main square was the place of the main markets in the village and was central to village life. The halle was reconstucted in 1818 but the grain measures on one side of the halle are the original measures and served as the model for those in neighbouring bastides.

Other streets just off the main square also contain some interesting buildings and deserve exploration. The Rue  Notre Dame has some fine 16 and 17th century houses which were built in a period of relative prosperity when the village was expanding beyond the original bastide centre.

On the edge of the village is the Laverie which was the communal clothes washing area in medieval times. There is also a small lake with a number of picnic tables around the edge and is a peaceful spot.

Villefranche du Perigord

The town itself won't detain you for very long, but it does provide a good base for exploring the region. There are a number of walks in the area that offer a good opportunity to discover the pretty countryside surrounding the village.

Note: Villefranche du Perigord is renowned for its ceps (mushrooms) market, and there is a small exhibition in the town explaining the role of ceps and chestnuts in the local economy. During the cep season there is a cep market every day under the halle.

Places to visit nearby

Besse is a pretty, small village to the west of Villefranche which has a remarkable church. With parts dating back to the 11 and 12th century and some 16th century murals. It has a beautifully sculpted doorway.

Not far away is Monpazier which is another bastide town. Monpazier is classified as one of the "most beautiful villages of France" and in our opinion is one of the best amongst these. Definitely worth the trip!

If you are travelling with children or teenagers then a trip to Parc en Ciel, a treetop adventure park is a great idea. There are a variety of different courses of different levels and also a totally natural swimming pool.

See also: 

Photos of Villefranche-du-Perigord

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • arcades2
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  • balcony
  • centre
  • halle1
  • hotel-commerce
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  • street
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Map of Villefranche-du-Perigord and places to visit

 
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Villefranche-du-Perigord places to visit

Prats-du-Perigord

Prats-du-Perigord

Prats du Perigord is a pretty village worth a visit.

Prats-du-Perigord guide
Parc en Ciel

Parc en Ciel

Parc en Ciel is an excellent treetop adventure park with a natural swimming pool.

Parc en Ciel guide
Ceou Valley

Ceou Valley

The Ceou valley is one of the quietest parts of the Dordogne.

Ceou Valley guide
Daglan

Daglan

Daglan is a quiet medieval town with a weekly market.

Daglan guide
Monpazier

Monpazier

Monpazier is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

Monpazier guide
Chateau de Biron

Chateau de Biron

The Chateau de Biron has some lovely architectural features.

Chateau de Biron guide
 
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