More Bastides

Having received no response from the estate agent, I decided to print off, sign, and post the document to the French solicitor complete with the errors. There are only so many times I am prepared to point out mistakes. This meant popping over to Shelly and Ron’s for my signature to be witnessed. Ron performed the task; I e-mailed scanned copies of each signed page to the agent; then posted the original to the solicitor.

the // website claims that ‘the “Bastide” towns of southwest France are a growing tourist attraction, and comprise one of the largest collections of well-preserved mediaeval townscapes to be found anywhere in Europe.’ In yesterday’s post I featured

Beaumont 4 9.03

Beaumont-du-Perigord, being a fine example.

Unfortunately I cannot be certain which was the next such town I visited with Maggie and Mike in September 2003, but I think it was Monpazier, founded by the English to keep out the French in 1285. It was to change hands between these two nations several times in the following few decades.

The main feature of a bastide is the central square surrounded by colonnaded arches now housing shops, such as wine merchants and toy suppliers. I enjoyed seeing baskets of diabolos, such as those brought back from holiday by my maternal grandparents.

Colourful market stalls fill the square which is

surrounded by grids of streets linked by narrow alleys or ruelles.

Weathered walls, iron gates, and tended gardens invite attention.

Maggie and Mike 9.03

When we passed a church which had recently held a wedding, my friends thought it would be a good wheeze to pretend it was theirs.

I drank more of the Malbec with our evening meal consisting of Jackie’s chicken chow mein and Tesco’s won tons. Mrs Knight enjoyed her food , and did not imbibe.






  1. Those wide arches do look just like my memory of Monpazier, Derrick. Lovely area, lovely photographs again. My own photographs of the Dordogne were taken before I had a digital camera, so not easily retrievable.

    1. Thanks very much, Roland. I didn’t go digital until 2012. All my slides and negs have been carefully stored for more than 50 years – never imagining what we can do with them today.

  2. The arches, narrow streets, and market are so different from here–it seems life lived more slowly.
    This made me chuckle. It sounds like a line from a nineteenth-century novel: “Mrs Knight enjoyed her food , and did not imbibe.”

  3. I’m sure these parts of France are still quaint and lovely Derrick. I do like to see photos of them for I doubt I shall ever see them in the flesh again. (Oh my, doesn’t that sound morbid! 🙂

      1. I can understand that; we are, as they say a weird mob.
        My sister and her husband tried living in France for a while, bought a fine old large house, renovated it, sold up and came back to civilization.
        Couldn’t hack it, been back 2 years. I never see them, my sister sends a comment now and then from her iphone.
        She loves her iphone..
        She tried doing a blog advising people how to go about buying renovating and selling houses in France.
        She had one visitor.
        Moi ! 😈

  4. Such a fascinating window to the Bastide town Monpazier! The square is lively and appears set a few decades back in time. I never had the chance to play diabolo —it sounds interesting and must present an exercise in hand-eye coordination and motor control.

    1. France is your home and stomping ground, dear Fiona. I bet this was just a piece of what you have seen. I wrote a comment below that I feel many European towns and burroughs have quaint, fascinating similarities of the older ways the alleys were curved and confusing, as well as charming. (As long as signs in the language of the area don’t give away the location. . .)

      1. It is. And you are right …. twisty turny streets exist in all European street plans. It is charming until you get lost 🤔

  5. Beautiful photos of the colorful market and quaint passageways, Derrick.
    I feel European streets and alleys are so fascinating while also being charming.
    While in high school our Spanish Club traveled to Spain. The cities of Valencia, Barcelona and others could almost be interchanged with Swiss, Portuguese or French passages, as long as signage wasn’t visible in the shots. I got lost while trying to retrace my three or four turns outside our place we stayed once. I realized why the tour guide told us to cling by the side of at least one sojourner in trying to explore.

  6. Amazing! I love how in Europe, people continue to live, work and play in century old neighbourhoods and homes. There’s so much character and layers of beautiful architecture from centuries long past. I just love that so much. It’s like a magical time machine to walk the brick paved lanes of these towns. I’m always so envious. Western Canada is all so new, Alberta only became a province at the beginning of the last century. We’re very lame at retaining and preserving even that short of a history. No one wants to spend the money. They’d rather build new. Rather sad really, as to know your past is so important, I think! Lovely post! x Boomdee

    1. Beautiful comment, Boomdee. Many thanks. A French friend once told me that he thought they had so much history because they were occupied during the war, not bombed.

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