"Every man has two countries: his own and France."

H. de Bonnier (1875)


The South-West of France is the land of the bastides; towns and villages founded in the 13th century, according to a predetermined plan.

A bastide has a central square, usually surrounded by arcades, where commerce took place. Some bastides, like Villeréal and Monpazier, still have a covered market hall on the central square. Unfortunately, the covered market hall of Monflanquin was taken down.
In a bastide, the church is not situated on the central square, but just next to it. When the bastides were founded, the influence of the church was declining and commerce becoming more important. The street pattern is straight like a chess board. This allowed the traders and stallholders to easily reach the main square.

Bastides were founded in difficult times, by noble men who had political, economical and demographic reasons.
The population was attracted by favorable tax rates and market privileges and found protection from looting and attacks.

The foundation of a bastide followed the following steps: choose the right spot, choose a name, draw a contract for the noble men who would become owner, design the layout and write a charte de coutumes. This was a list of privileges granted to the inhabitants.

Interesting bastides in the area: Monflanquin, Monpazier, Villereal, Castillonès, Domme, Eymet, Beaumont du Perigord, Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Laparade, Puymirol, Tournon d'Agenais.

Detailed information about the origin of the bastides can be found in the Musée des Bastides in Monflanquin.