Friday, April 20, 2012

Villefranche du Perigord, France - June 28, 2011

Villefranche du Perigord is, or was anyway, a walled bastide town that was founded by Alphonse de Poitiers and chartered in 1261. Parts of the wall still exist although it is not particularly evident that the entire town was once enclosed. Further, the original fortified church no longer exists having been replaced in the 18th century by the relatively lightweight Our Lady of the Assumption.
Originally the town was called Villefranche-de-Belvès and only adopted the du Perigord suffix in 1893. In 1960, the community of Saint-Etienne-des-Landes was merged into Villefranche du Perigord.
The town is largely comprised of four parallel streets, almost entirely residential, with a single large square near one end. Looking around the main square, there is the 17th century arcaded Hotel du Commerce with a restaurant and other minor retail outlets, the church and then, on the other side, an attractive open market hall on stone columns. Finally, there is the ubiquitous Presse-Tabac come pseudo convenience store.
The town is famed locally for its mushroom market and the House of Chestnuts to which a small museum is dedicated. A pleasant couple of hours - pictures here.

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