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The purpose-built fortified towns of the South West

During the middle ages the Périgord, the Quercy and indeed much of south-west France was the scene of long running conflict between the English and the French culminating in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453).

During the 13th century both sides began to build small fortified towns on a grid plan surrounded by walls with gates and towers. Called Bastides, which stems from the Oc word bastidas, the principal builders were Alphonse de Poitiers for the French and King Edward I of England. The inhabitants were given special rights and privileges and were guaranteed protection from the activities of marauding armies.

Some well known Bastides in the region include Bretenoux, Domme, Monpazier, Lalinde, Mollièresand Beaumont-du-Périgord.

600–1440: Middle Ages

Text © Paul Shawcross

Image by Photo by Paul Shawcross