Many years ago, we recalled (when we lived in Holland) that many British folks were flocking to the southwestern part of France. So much that entire communes had almost become British villages!
Why did they converged on this part of France?
Is it the weather? The beautiful countryside? It is still a mystery to us till this day. Perhaps someone from the UK might be able to enlighten us! In any case, there we were based in the town of Perigeux making forays to verify if it is indeed true that the beauty of these villages was what enamoured a countless number of Brits over the years.
But first some technicalities. Many of this “villages” we visited weren’t just communes of abode. They were fortified. ‘Bastides’ they are called locally and there are good reasons to do so. In medieval times, you never know if a robber knight will turn up at your door in the middle of the night asking for “donations” of food, wine and where possible money. Some may even court womenfolk love…
In an age where bands of mercenaries live off the land – ie take from people, the commonfolk had to band together too! And build strong homes from which they can keep themselves safe from predation. Perhaps some of these horror flicks (of vampires and monsters in the night) deriving from medieval times were a satire on the roaming “bloodthirsty” robber knights and barons of the day! Today though we are blessed not to have such any of such. What a relieve!
And words from this post alone will not do sufficient justice to the beauty of the villages that we set our eyes upon.
Are these villages really as pretty as we say? Find out more in our essay here!