Nouvelle Aquitaine Section
Beaumont du Perigord – Bastide – Dordogne
Beaumont du Perigord, an English bastide
It boasts a stunning medieval architectural heritage and has retained the atmosphere of a bygone era.
Perched on a hill, it once commanded the boundary with the County of Toulouse.
Hence its name, as Beaumont (beautiful mount) evolved from the Occitan Bel Mont that came from the Latin Bellus Mons.
King Edward I of England founded Beaumont du Perigord in 1272.
In 1277 he granted a charter of franchise to the residents; he renewed and extended it with new franchises in 1286.
As all the other bastides, Beaumont du Perigord enjoyed the privilege of self management.
Its Consuls (our modern day mayors) were even granted permission to build a village house or Consulat in order to meet.
The construction of the ramparts began in 1380, during the Hundred Years War.
Beaumont du Perigord, however, escaped degradation because it remained in English territory until 1442 when the Vicomte de Turenne, a lieutenant of Charles VII of France seized it.
Beaumont du Perigord, a French bastide
The Franco-English conflict came to an end 9 years later.
However, in 1461 King Louis XI re-conducted the charter granted by Edward I.
This allowed the now French Beaumont de Perigord to thrive for the next few centuries.
The bastide was extensively altered over time, especially in the second half of the 19th century.
However, it retained its original H-shape, wanted by Edward I in memory of his father Henry III.
The ramparts were demolished or incorporated into new construction during the expansion of the city in the 18th century.
The Porte de Luzier is therefore the only remaining of the 16 original gates.
Vestiges of ramparts and a tower, probably rebuilt in the 18th century, are still visible.
They give an excellent idea of the size of the original bastide.
The covered market or Halle once stood on the central square.
It was demolished in 1854.
The square is today known as Place Jean Moulin.
However, medieval houses built on arched galleries or cornières still frame it.
One of them is the oldest house in Beaumont du Perigord.
The timbered Maison Laphite stands on the square's northern corner and cornière.
Fortunately, it escaped destruction during the various alterations that took place over the centuries.
The imposing Eglise Saint-Laurent-Saint-Front is another landmark of Beaumont du Perigord.
In fact, the 14th century building is the only church left in Perigord that combines Military (fortified) and Gothic architectures.
It is even considered the most beautiful fortified church in Southwest France!
Two towers frame its facade.
The tallest overlooks the Place Jean Moulin and is crowned by a walkway.
A balustrade gallery decorated with a garland of grotesques tops the stunning 5-arch portal.
This impressive and somewhat over-sized church dominates the bastide.
It was classified Historical Monument in 1909.
Department of Dordogne
Coordinates Beaumont du Perigord: Lat 44.768370 - Long 0.767691
Photos Wikimedia Commons: header - Porte de Luzier - Maison Laphite - Church