The bastide of
Monpazier is one of "Plus beaux villages de
France" and, as well as being the
best preserved bastide in the Dordogne, it
is considered the most typical example of a
bastide in the entire south-west of France.
Monpazier was founded in 1284 by King Edward
I of England with the help of Pierre de
Gontaut, Lord of Biron, and it was only
during the reign of King Charles V of France
(1366-1380) that the bastide became
In 1574 treachery allowed the Huguenot
captain, Geoffroi de Vivans, to gain control
of Monpazier and in 1594 was it was one of
the sites of the Peasant’s Revolt (la
révolte des Croquants).
Despite the ravages of time and war (the
Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion)
Monpazier has remained remarkably unchanged
during its seven hundred year long
Four hundred metres by two hundred and
twenty, the town is perfectly quadrilateral
and the streets run parallel to the longest
sides from one end of the town to the other.
These are crossed by four transversal
streets thus dividing the town into
The central Place des Cornières is
surrounded by medieval and
Unusually, all of Monpazier’s houses were
originally exactly the same size and
separated from one another by narrow side
alleys or «androns » to prevent the spread
What to See
The Place des Cornières
The square is surrounded by houses whose
ground floor form the arches of an arcade.
Its old market hall is intact ; the
sixteenth-century timber roof frame is
supported by wooden pillars which are, in
turn, supported by blocks of stone.
The church was built in the thirteenth
century and added to on various occasions.
The unusual ribbed vault nave extends into a
The Chapter House
The thirteenth-century, three-storey house
situated behind the church used to serve as
the tithe barn for stocking harvest produce
requisitioned as taxes.