Issigeac is a medieval village situated on the edge of the Dordogne near the bordering département of Lot et Garonne which is unlike its many neighbouring bastides; the site first harboured a wealthy Gallo-Roman villa and a Merovingian necropolis before giving way to a 6th century monastery.

Inside the old, circular walls, the narrow roads wind snail-like round and round in a village characterised by light and shadow, stone and wood where the roads, the alleyways, even the shops, live and breathe their medieval past.

Wander through the heart of this labyrinth to see medieval stone houses side by side with the more unusual timber frame, 14th and 15th century houses peculiar to Issigeac. The authenticity and craftsmanship of the architecture has been wonderfully preserved.

A stroll around Issigeac in search of unusual buildings and beautiful images inevitably leads one to the corner of the ‘Gran’rue’; raise your eyes to the stone, arcaded Maison des Têtes (the House of Heads) and be surprised by the sculpted wooden faces peering down.

In the village square the Palace of the Bishops of Sarlat stands opposite St Félicien’s Church. The impressive, 17th century palace is an elegant example of sternly classical French architecture. St Félicien’s octagonal bell tower, imposing buttresses and pointed spire dominate the village rooftops. The vaulted nave and ribbed crossing provide a fine example of late Gothic architecture.

A favourite walk of Issigeac locals encompasses La Prevoté (the Provost’s House) along the old town walls; it is an extremely elegant 18th century abode whose arched dovecote overlooks the surrounding countryside.

Issigeac is a quiet village situated in the middle of the countryside which comes vibrantly to life with its lively Sunday morning market and its host of annual events.

In Issigeac the pace of life is regulated only by the gentle cooing of the wood pigeons, it invites the visitor to step back into the past and imagine our forbears meeting around the fountains and strolling along the river.”

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A good round trip for a day out includes Eymet for lunch and Monbazillac on the way back.

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