Terrasson, Aquitaine: tourism & sightseeing
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Terrasson is a town in the north of the Dordogne department to the west of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Note: the 'real' name of the town is Terrasson-Lavilledieu, the two communes with those names having merged in 1963.
It is a small traditional town that is also well known for its award winning gardens, while the surounding region is famous for its truffles and walnuts.
The town is dominated by the large church that stands on the hill at the top of the village, while the slowly moving Vézère River runs past the lower part of Terrasson. The river is traversed here by two bridges: a 15th century old stone bridge called 'Vieux Pont' and the 19th century Pont Neuf.
Terrasson is also known for the blue slate roofs seen on many of the buildings and unusual in most of the Dordogne region. The town is worthy of exploration, especially for the 'old bridge' and the abbey, and the attractive setting.
The town is divided by the river Vezere and has the newer part and market place on one side and the old town on the other. Once you have crossed the bridge towards the old town you can head uphill and towards the right reach the 'Jardins de l'Imaginaire' from where you get excellent views of the town below as well as some great gardens (these famous gardens are perhaps the main attraction in Terrasson).
Heading uphill and to the left leads you into the old town. Continuing upwards you always have the striking abbey ahead of you as the path climbs quite steeply towards it.
Half way up the hill is the Place Bouquier, the highlight of Terrasson old town. It has beautiful buildings surrounding it. There is a gardened terrace with the abbey above and the paved square has a coat of arms set into it. The Rue de la Marzelle just off the Place Bouquier has one of Terrasson's most unusual buildings, a half-timbered building supported in one corner by a tall stone pillar.
Climb on up to the church and you get some amazing views looking down onto the square below. The Church of Saint-Sour was first built in the 15th century although it was much altered by 19th century renovations, which in part were repairing damage caused during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century.
Terrasson Market day is Thursday. The market takes place next to the river and during peak season extends across to the other side of the bridge making a very charming picture.
Terrasson Gardens of the Imagination
These stylish, contemporary gardens overlook the town and are renowned worldwide. They are one of the main reasons why people visit Terrason.
Covering six hectares of hillside overlooking the village, the 'jardins de l'Imaginaire' are a series of terraces that have numerous features where contemporary art and water features are successfully integrated in the environment. At little more than 10 years old the gardens at Terrason are already listed as one of France's official 'Jardins remarquables' ('remarkable gardens').
Among the most popular attractions nearby are two that are very famous and will be highlights of your visit to this part of France: to the north is the Chateau de Hautefort and to the south-west you can visit the Lascaux caves with their cave paintings.
There is lovely scenery in all directions, with the prehistoric settlements along the Vézère valley especially popular with visitors.
Map of Terrasson and places to visit
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Address: Terrasson-Lavilledieu, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Dordogne, Aquitaine, 24120, France || GPS: latitude 45.13, longitude 1.3019
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardins de l'Imaginaire: remarkable garden
- Saint-Amand-de-Coly: most beautiful village (8km)
- Abbaye de Saint Amand de Coly (Saint-Amand-de-Coly): religious monument (9km)
- Vezere Valley: heritage site (13km)
- Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac: remarkable garden (17km)
- Gouffre de la Fage: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Jardins du château de Losse: remarkable garden (18km)
- Jardins du château de Hautefort: remarkable garden (19km)
- Donzenac: village d'etape (21km)
- Eglise de Saint Léonce (Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere): religious monument (21km)
Market days in Terrasson, France
Regular market(s) are held in Terrasson each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Terrasson (Francais)