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2000 years and counting...

Périgueux is full of heritage riches. From its Roman roots to Catholic medieval expansion, it has at its heart the stunning cathedral Saint-Front.

A rich heritage

Périgueux is the capital of the Périgord region and boasts a rich and diverse heritage spanning 2000 years. The city has ancient Roman roots that began at the time of the conquest and development of Gaul by the Roman Empire.

The town traverses the rich multi-layered tapestry of its historical influences, from medieval times of Catholic expansion, embodied by the cathedral of Saint-Front, and the later Renaissance elegance of the city’s architecture.

Well-preserved ruins and sites make this place a gem of a find for history enthusiasts, culture lovers and architecture aficionados.

Foodie Heaven

Foodies are not left out either as Périgueux is blessed with a rich and diverse culinary scene with a plethora of restaurants and terrace cafes throughout the city.

One of the highlights of the city is the vibrant food markets. Bustling Farmers food markets in the old town happen on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. These authentic markets offer an abundance of local produce, making it a haven for gourmet lovers.

In the summer months of July and August, you can also sample a slice of French charm with night markets on Wednesdays. Choose your food and drink from whichever food stand tickles your fancy, pull up a pew with the locals and enjoy the experience.

Last Man Standing - Tour Mataguerre

The compact and almost completely pedestrianised centre of Périgueux is filled with alleyways and narrow streets from its medieval past, bordered by the river Isle, a main tributary of the Dordogne river.

At the entrance to the historic heart of Périgueux, on Rue de la Bride, lie the remnants of the defensive walled area. At one time it contained 28 defensive towers constructed to protect the town and the Cathedral at its heart.

The 13th century tower of Mataguerre is what remains of this once walled area. Climb it and appreciate the impressive views from the rooftops as sentries once did on patrol in protection from invaders.

At its Sacred Heart

The cathedral Saint-Front

It’s impossible not to think of Périgueux without the majestic grandeur of the 12th century UNESCO World Heritage Site cathedral Saint-Front.

Set apart from any other cathedrals in the Dordogne Valley, the massive structure blends both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. Like St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, it is built in the shape of a Greek cross with an enormous steeple, turrets and five domes.

With a guided tour, take the opportunity to climb up to the roof of the cathedral where you can get a closer appreciation of the beauty of this construction while walking around the exterior of the domed turrets.

The grandeur of its exterior design is equally matched in the interiors. During the 19th century, renowned French architect Paul Abadie enlarged the domes adding pinnacles as he similarly did to Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral. Stepping inside, you can see hanging above the centre of the altar an enormous chandelier that originally hung in Notre-Dame.

The aesthetic elements of the monumental stone scale of the interior combine magically with the impressively beautiful stained glass windows. If you are lucky to hear the organ being played, it certainly adds a touch of ethereal beauty to the serene space.

Vesunna - Step back another 1000 years

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum is a must. Named after Vesunna, the ancient Roman name for the city of Périgueux, it houses a fascinating collection of artefacts from the time of the Roman occupation of Gaul.

Designed by the acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel, the museum’s glass walled building is built over the remains of a Roman villa but stands as an architectural marvel in and of itself.

The museum incorporates the ancient remains of the first centuryAD home Vesone Domus (complete with the remains of an underground floor heating system!) complemented with artefacts and frescos from the surrounding Roman settlement.

The Périgord Museum of Art and Archaeology

The oldest museum of the Dordogne it has an emphasis on prehistory with an extensive collection of some 18 thousand artefacts.

These include a plethora of tools, art objects, fossil human remains and even a woolly mammoth tusk. A ‘classical’ museum in the traditional 19th century sense.

Musée Militaire du Périgord

Visitors can immerse themselves in a vast and impressive collection of artefacts, exhibits, and memorabilia spanning various periods of Frenchmilitary history.

This small curiosity of a museum run by a voluntary association of enthusiasts was founded after the First World War and is spread over three floors.

It is however jam-packed with some 13,000 items from medals to weapons spanning centuries from the Revolution and Napoleonic period to more recent conflicts.

River path fun!

Véloroute Voie Verte du Grand Périgueux

In need of some fresh air and a break from all this sightseeing?

Easily find it by following a fully bicycle, walking, and rollerblading-friendly dedicated path running alongside the Isle river.

It is part of an 86 km dedicated cycling path that runs through the Périgord region toward Bordeaux and can be used at any time of year.

By the river, take your time to get back to nature and soak in the stunningly beautiful backdrop of history that passes you by.