Visit of the bastide town of Villeréal

Villeréal
Visit of the bastide  ...

Come with us to visit the bastide town of Villeréal. It is a town dating from the Middle Ages, which like other bastides such as Monflanquin , Castillonnès , Villeneuve-sur-Lot and Tournon d'Agenais have very specific building plans, with perpendicular streets, a square at arcades with a hall. These are modern cities, which have strongly inspired our current cities. Villeréal is a pleasant stopover for a walk (it is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France ) or a gastronomic stopover in one of the restaurants located around the market hall.

Photos of the article: Guide to Lot-et-Garonne


A bastide with all the attributes!

Lot-et-Garonne is one of the departments with the largest number of bastides. Whether they are small quiet villages or large towns today, the bastides are all organized around a central point, then drawn " with a chalk line ". We planted a stick, we pulled a rope to then align well parallel and perpendicular, the major axes. There are nearly forty bastides in the department. Villeréal is located north of the Agenais, not far from Périgord. It is a small bastide, founded in 1265 by Count Alphonse de Poitiers, to whom it also owes the bastides of Monflanquin, Castillonnès and Eymet in Périgord. Among its remarkable attributes, we can cite its generously sized hall, which has a floor (it's rare, added in the 16th century) made of cob. Villeréal also has a very beautiful fortified church.

Villereal
Villeréal, the arcades and the hall
Villereal
Villereal old photo


Visit of Villeréal, from alleys to squares

To visit Villeréal, we recommend that you go to the Cœur de Bastides Tourist Office, whose offices are located on the Place aux Arcades. You will find a map of Villeréal (in fr) there.

8 main streets form the heart of the " bastide " type town of Villeréal. They intersect at right angles and meet around the 30m side hall, where the market has been held on Saturdays for no less than 750 years (we don't change traditions!). This hall is classified as a Historic Monument, it is estimated that its construction dates from the 16th century and is curious, it consists of one floor, today the host of Radio 4, which once housed the House of Jurats (the Magistrates Municipal of certain towns in our region, elected for 1 year).


Read our article on unusual visits to do in Lot-et-Garonne . The Lac de Lougratte is not far from Villeréal if you want to go for a walk or a splash in summer!

Hall of Villereal
Central square of the Villeréal hall


Walking all around the square and in the adjacent streets, you will notice many half-timbered houses, very well preserved. These are facades built with wooden beams, a material available in abundance at the time, which are then lined with cob, a mixture of clay and straw. Some are corbelled, that is to say that upstairs, part of the house is widened by a structure of beams. Why ? To enlarge the living area without paying property taxes (calculated on the floor area, smart!) but also to protect the lower floors from rain runoff. Half-timbering was a popular construction technique in the Middle Ages because it was quick and inexpensive. The houses of the nobles were made of stone!

To find out more about the bastides, visit the Musée des Bastides in Monflanquin!

Half-timbered houses in Villeréal
Half-timbered houses in Villeréal
Former convent of Villeréal
The leper colony of Villeréal and its carved stone

The former convent of Villeréal and the Léperoserie with its beautifully sculpted door


Stroll through the squares, a local word for pedestrian streets (as opposed to cart streets where horse-drawn carriages, carts for goods, etc. circulated). You will also see bridges spanning the squares, an architectural element specific to bastides, to join two houses or plots, sometimes on the occasion of a marriage between two neighboring families. Continue to the Notre-Dame de Villeréal church, which dates from the construction of the bastide. It is a fortified church which had a double function: that of a religious building for the faithful and a place of retrenchment in the event of an attack on the city. This is why it was surrounded by ditches and a drawbridge for access.

The visit of Villeréal will take you about 1 hour. In summer, small shops are open, and restaurants that immerse the village in a very pleasant atmosphere. We wish you a nice walk!


Carrerots de Villereal
Carrerots de Villereal
Church of Our Lady of Villereal
Church of Our Lady of Villereal


Back to "Culture and Heritage"

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