Monpazier, Aquitaine: tourism & sightseeing
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Monpazier is 15 kilometres to the south of Domme towards the southern edge of the Dordogne region, and is listed as a 'most beautiful village of France'. The origins of Monpazier date from the end of the 13th century when it was founded as a bastide town in 1284 by King Edward I of England.
Monpazier is a remarkable place that is usually considered to be the most intact bastide town remaining in France.
Broadly speaking the town has a large central square, a smaller square with the church close by, and straight streets lined with medieval buildings running out from this centre to the edges of the town and parts of the historic fortifications. The town is entered through large stone gateways through these defensive walls.
Around its paved central square, containing the original market hall, Monpazier retains many ancient buildings and the original arcades around the edge of the square.
There is perhaps little to actually say about the town - it is the general impression it creates that is the attraction rather than any particular individual highlights.
The 13th century Church of Saint-Dominique has an attractive carved entrance and the ancient market hall is interesting - note the old 'tin buckets' in the hall, which are said to be the original 'weighing station' for oils and wheat etc.
The houses and arcades around the edge of the square (the sheltered pathways under the arches) are also a highlight. More than 30 of the buildings in Monpazier are classified as 'national monuments', and there is little to spoil the impression that all is much as it has been for the last 700 years.
Monpazier is one of the few places where you can take loads of photos (and you will) and none show any building less than 400 years old!
The most remarkable feature is that many of the houses in the centre are different to each other in architectural style, but still form a perfect whole. Be sure to venture a little down the side streets, where houses, and occasional shops and cafes, sit quietly as they have for many centuries.
As in the centre there are many attractive houses - see for example the tall Maison du Chapitre is on the Rue Notre-Dame and the Convent des Recollets for examples, and the mairie just outside the south-east corner of the centre.
Be sure to also stroll to the edges of the town (outside the Monpazier fortifications and only about 200 metres from the centre) to see the views that look south across the woodland and valley.
Monpazier is an unmissable highlight of a visit to the region and a visit to this unique village is highly recommended (we live close by and have visited more than 100 of the 'most beautiful villages of France' and never cease to be impressed even after visiting Monpazier on numerous occasions, at all times of year.
The Dordogne area to the north and the Lot-et-Garonne region to the south both contain a very large number of interesting sights and villages. For somewhere a little off the beaten track, perhaps visit the medieval villages of Villereal or Issigeac to the west, or Monflanquin a little further to the south and also a listed 'beautiful village of France'.
There are numerous castles, villages and scenic highlights close to Monpazier - see the guides for Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne for more details. Monpazier is also at the eastern end of the Dropt Valley, which is a less visited region that also contains many small towns and villages of interest.
Map of Monpazier and places to visit
Visit near Monpazier with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Dordogne
Monpazier has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Monpazier, Bergerac, Dordogne, Aquitaine, 24540, France || GPS: latitude 44.682, longitude 0.8943
Plan your visit to Monpazier, Aquitaine
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Eglise Sainte-Croix (Beaumont-du-Perigord): religious monument (8km)
- Saint-Avit Eglise (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (12km)
- Belves: most beautiful village (13km)
- Eglise Notre Dame de l'Assomption (Belves): religious monument (14km)
- Le-Buisson-de-Cadouin eglise abbatiale (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (14km)
- Jardins de la Bourlie: remarkable garden (15km)
- Jardin de Planbuisson: remarkable garden (18km)
- Jardin de Conty: remarkable garden (18km)
- Monflanquin: most beautiful village (20km)
- Eglise de Saint-Hilaire et Eglise de Saint-Nicholas (Tremolat): religious monument (22km)
Market days in Monpazier, France
Regular market(s) are held in Monpazier each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Monpazier (Francais)