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.
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 14th century church which was constructed using plans by 'd'Abadie' who was the architect for the Sacré Coeur of Montmartre in Paris.
The arcades fill with tables in the summer and are a wonderful shady place to sit and enjoy lunch or a drink whilst enjoying the view of the square.
Other streets just off the main square also contain some interesting medieval buildings and deserve exploration. Also take a walk outside of the centre of the village to the Laverie on the edge. This was the communal clothes washing area in medieval times.
The town itself won't detain you for very long, but it does provide a good base for exploring the region.
Note: Villefranche du Perigord is also now 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.
Photos of Villefranche-du-Perigord
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