abelard's home latest changes & additions at abelard.org link to document abstracts link to short briefings documents quotations at abelard.org, with source document where relevant click for abelard's child education zone economics and money zone at abelard.org - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone
socialism, sociology, supporting documents described Loud music and hearing damage Architectural wonders and joys at abelard.org about abelard and abelard.org visit abelard's gallery Energy - beyond fossil fuels France zone at abelard.org - another France

bastide towns:
monpazier, pearl of england

This page helpful?
Like it ! Share it !


new! Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours  Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours

Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France updated: Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France

 the perpendicular or English style of cathedral  Manchester cathedral

the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
cathedral giants - Amiens and Beauvais

Stone tracery in church and cathedral construction illustrated
stone in church and cathedral construction

stained glass and cathedrals in Normandy illustrated graph

fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes

cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction

Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France

Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
paying at the péage (toll station)

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris

Click to go to pages about Art Deco at abelard.org

Click to go to 'the highest, longest: the viaduct de Millau'

Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city

Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes

Hermès scarves

Hèrmes logo

bastide towns
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France 2021

Le Tour de France: cycling tactics illustrated

Tour de France 2021

potted history
some characteristics of bastides
monpazier, the pearl of england, XIIIth century bastide in Dordogne [1]

related page :

bastide: Beaumont-du-Perigord

Aerial view, showing rectangular street layout, Monpazier
Aerial view of Monpazier, showing rectangular street layout

Bastides were originally walled towns, centred around a market square, with the houses set in narrow streets, often to a grid layout. The bastides were fortified to protect the inhabitants from outside attack.

Bastides were founded during the Hundred Years War between England and France, mainly in South-Western France. They were new towns, mainly set up on frontier and disputed lands to establish a border and a defensive presence. People were subsidised to settle there, in a manner very similar to the kibbutz settlements in Israel.

from the bastide town of Navarrenx
Shop sign in Navarrenx - fashion. attractive logia on town house in Navarrenx
above: attractive balcony on town house
below: ironmonger’s sign
Shop sign in Navarrenx - ironmongers
above: fashion shop / below: florists
Shop sign in Navarrenx - florist

Potted history

There were conflicting territorial and economic interests between the King of France and the King of England, who was also Duke of Aquitaine. The resulting ongoing dispute was the Hundred Years War.

During the Albigensian wars - crusades against the Cathar heretics in Occitaine - the French Capetian kings took hold of Occitaine. However, the Capetians needed to further consolidate against English power, which had been strengthened by the marriage of Henry II with Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152.

Kings of the bastide-building period included:
France: Philippe le Hardi (the Bold), Philippe le Bel (the Fair), Louis XIII (Saint)
England: Henry III, Edward I (Confessor), Edward II.

Both sides made a systematic entrenchment, with control of local populations. This digging-in included land and forest clearance. As part of this process, hundreds of bastides, new fortified towns, were founded for political, military and economic necessity. Between 1260 and 1325, bastides were built on the frontier between Anglo-Aquitaine Périgord [now Dordogne] and the diocese of Agen [the Agenais], stretching from the Pyrenees to the Périgord, Carcassone to Bordeaux. [Agenais was owned by the Count of Toulouse, Alphonse of Poitiers (1220 - 1271), brother of Louis IX.]

Between 1256 and 1270, Alphonse of Poitiers built Monflanquin, Castillonnès, Villefranche-de-Périgord, Villeréal, Eymet.
From 1267, Henry III built Lalinde; Edward I built Beaumont, Molières, Monpazier.
In all over 300 bastides were built in fifteen departements in France:
Ariège - Aude - Aveyron - Dordogne - Gard - Gers - Gironde - Haute Garonne - Hautes Pyrénées - Landes - Lot - Lot et Garonne - Pyrénées Atlantiques - Tarn - Tarn et Garonne.

Ownership often changed as the battles raged back and forth. For example, Domme, originally French, became English in 1346, before returning to the French the next year. However, the English grabbed Domme again in 1393 after a 24 year seige. After French seiges, Domme became French once more in 1438. During the Wars of Religion, Domme was again a focus of battles and seiges.

The Hundred Years War between various English and French kings ended in 1453. This was followed, about a century later, by the Wars of Religion when, from 1560 to 1598, Protestant Huguenots and Catholics fought (both sides being French).

Each bastide was founded on the basis of a charter. The bastide’s founder, the king or his representative - abbé or count, gave land. Legal and economic privileges were granted to the people who built the town and worked there. Their freedom, safety and property ownership was guaranteed. In return, the king could raise taxes and troops in the event of war.

Part of the bastide town of Sauveterre, showing progressive additions to part of the walled town
Part of the bastide town of Sauveterre, showing progressive additions to a section of the walled town

A filled-in androne at Navarrenx.
Filled-in androne at Navarrenx 

Characteristics of bastides include:

  • having a charter giving the terms under which the bastide was founded.
  • built on a hilltop, a plateau or a rocky spur
  • fortified perimeter, often with the church either included or nearby, to serve as a keep and observation post
  • rectangular grid layout
  • carreyous: narrow alleys for access to backs of houses and their gardens [alternatively spelt carrérot]
  • andrones: narrow separating gap between houses to limit the spread of fire, to enable rain and waste water disposal, as well as air circulation. [to left]
  • pontets: small bridges joining two buildings separated by a carreyou, but also provided a small private indoor space. Cheaper pontets were constructed from wood, bricks and plaster, while more expensive pontets - made from stone - often included ornate gothic or renaissance-style windows in their construction.
  • a market square, often with a covered section: les halles. Note that the four streets that serve the square enter it by each corner, to not get in the way of the fairs and markets held there.
  • cornières: covered arcades built out of the ground floor of the houses surrounding the market square.

Most bastides have been rebuilt and built over during the centuries. There are very few that still have most of these characteristics. Probably the best preserved bastide is Monpazier.

A filled-in androne at Navarrenx.
Pontets at Monpazier
  above: wood-based pontet
below: stone pontet

Monpazier, the pearl of England
XIIIth century bastide in Dordogne (dept. 24)

The bastide territory of Monpazier is one of the smallest (53 hectares) of all the French fortified towns and one of the smallest communes in France. Monpazier was founded 1285 and exchanged hands several times, yet it is the best preserved bastide in France, with few facades replaced or ‘improved’.

Monpazier was part of the English defensive system in the south of Périgord, with Lalinde, Beaumont, Molières and Fonroque, and with incomplete bastides at Pépicou, Roquine, Castelréal, Puyguilhem, Beaulieu and Labastide.

Nearby opposing French bastides included Rayet, Villeréal, Castillonnès and Monflanquin.

Monpazier’s changed ownership several times:
English 1285, French 1327, English 1345, French 1370, Huguenot 1574...

View  from Monpazier over rolling countryside.
View over rolling countryside from Monpazier.

A carreyou at Monpazier.
A carreyou [alley] at Monpazier

Les halles - the covered market area - at Monpazier.
Les halles - the covered market area - at Monpazier

Monpazier market square, showing a variety of cornieres.
Monpazier market square,
showing a variety of cornière [arcade] entrances, with andrones between some buildings.



  1. At the period when it was built, Monpazier was known as la perle d'Angleterre - the pearl of England.

  2. bastide
    Originally, the word bastida (or bastit or bastia) had a very wide-ranging meaning of a recent construction or, in due course, a construction of some importance. Thus the word bastide now has two meanings:
    1. In the South-West of France, from the 13th century, the term bastide took the sense of new town, newly populated (nova bastida, nova populatio).
      A bastide thus distinguished itself from villa [detached house], castrum [fort], sauveterre [safe land], salvetat [it saves], castelnau [new castle], villeneuve [new town]; contemporaries of the time were not very fussy about which label was used.
    2. In Provence, however, bastide had a different significance, meaning a country residence; this to differentiate from town hôtels, where hôtel means a substantial building owned by someone of social standing and wealth. A Provençal bastide was a secondary residence at the centre of a related farm. Bastides in this sense started appearing in the 16th century.


    Louis VII

    Capetian 1137 - 1180 Charles VI Valois 1380 - 1422
    Philip II Augustus Capetian 1180 - 1223 Charles VII Valois 1422 - 1461
    Louis VIII Capetian 1223 - 1226 Louis XI Valois 1461 - 1483
    Louis IX Capetian 1226 - 1270 Charles VIII Valois 1483 - 1498
    Philip III Capetian 1270 - 1285 Louis XII Valois 1498 - 1515
    Philip IV Capetian 1285 - 1314 Francis I Valois 1515 - 1547
    Louis X Capetian 1314 - 1316 Henry II Valois 1547 - 1559
    John I Capetian 1316 Francis II Valois 1559 - 1560
    Philip V Capetian 1316 - 1322 Charles IX Valois 1560 - 1574
    Charles IV Capetian 1322 - 1328 Henry III Valois 1574 - 1589
    Philip VI Valois 1328 - 1350 Henry IV Bourbon 1589 - 1610
    John II Valois 1350 - 1364 Louis XIII Bourbon 1610 - 1643
    Charles V Valois 1364 - 1380 Louis XIV Bourbon 1643 - 1715

    Henry II Plantagenet 1154-1189 Henry VI Lancaster 1422-1461
    Richard I Plantagenet 1189-1199 Edward IV York 1461-1483
    John Plantagenet 1199-1216 Edward V York 1483
    Henry III Plantagenet 1216-1272 Richard III York 1483 - 1485
    Edward I Plantagenet 1272-1307 Henry VII Tudor 1485 - 1509
    Edward II Plantagenet 1307-1327 Henry VIII Tudor 1509 - 1547
    Edward III Plantagenet 1327-1377 Edward VI Tudor 1547 - 1553
    Richard II Plantagenet 1377-1399 Mary Tudor 1553 - 1558
    Henry IV Lancaster 1399-1413 Elizabeth I Tudor 1558 - 1603
    Henry V Lancaster 1413-1422 James I Stuart 1603 - 1625

  5. List of bastides by departement:
    • Ariège: La bastide de Bousignac - La bastide de Besplas - La bastide de l'Ordat - La bastide de Serou - La bastide sur l'Hers - Campagne sur l'Arize - Mazéres - Mirepoix - Montfloquier -Montjoie en Couserans - Rimont - Villeneuve d'Olmes - Villeneuve du Bosc - Villeneuve du Paréage.
    • Aude: Belpech - Bouillonnac - Carcassonne - Castelnaudary - La Bastide d'Anjou - La Bastide de Couloumat - La Bastide d'en Richard - La Bastide en Val - La Bastide Esparbairenque - Lignairolles - Molandier - Montréal - Ribouisse - St Denis de Saissac - St Louis en Bazés - Villeneuve le Comtal.
    • Aveyron: La Bastide d'Aubrac - La Bastide de Fons - La Bastide l'Evêque - La Bastide Pradines - La Bastide Solages - Najac - Plaisance -Requista - Sauveterre de Rouergue - Villefranche de Panat - Villefranche de Rouergue - Villeneuve d'Aveyron.
    • Dordogne: Beaumont en Périgord/Beaumont-du-Périgord - Beauregard en Périgord - Benevent - Domme - Eymet - Fonroque - Lalinde - Molières - Monsetier - Monpazier - Montignac le Petit - Puyguilhem - Rocquepine - St Aulaye - St Barthélémy de Bellegarde - St Louis en l'Isle - Vergt - Villefranche de Lonchat - Villefranche du Périgord.
    • Gard: Aigues-Mortes.
    • Gers: Aujan - Aurimont - Barcelonne du Gers - Barran - Bassoues - Beaucaire - Beaumarchés - Bretagne d'Armagnac - Castelnau Barbarens - Cazaubon - Cologne - Fleurance - Fourcés - Gimont - La Bastide Saves - Lannepax - Larée - Lias d'Armagnac - Marciac - Marguestau - Masseube - Mauleon d'Armagnac - Mauvezin - Meilhan - Mielan - Miradoux - Mirande - Monclar - Monfort - Monguilhem - Montréal. - Mourède - Ornezan - Pavie - Plaisance du Gers - Réjaumont - St Clar - St Sauvy - Seissan - Sere - Solomiac - Valence s/ Baïse - Villefranche d'Astarac.
    • Gironde: Blasimon - Cadillac - Créon - Libourne - Monségur - Pellegrue - Ste Foy la Grande - Ste Gemme - Sauveterre de Guyenne.
    • Haute Garonne: Aignes - Alan - Beauchalot - Blajan en Nebouzan - Bouloc - Boulogne s/ Gesse - Boussens - Le Burgaud - Calmont - Carbonne - Cazères s/ Garonne - Fonsorbés - Le Fousseret - Gaillac.Toulza - Grenade s/ Garonne - La bastide Beauvoir - La bastide Clermont - Lavelanet de Comminges - Lestelle St Martory - Mondilhan - Montastruc la Conseillère - Montesquieu Lauragais - Montesquieu Volvestre - Montgeard - Montmaurin - Montrejeau - Nailloux - Nenigan - Palaminy - Plagne - Plaisance du Touch - Le Plan - Revel - Rieumes - St Clar de Rivière - St Félix Lauragais - St Pé del Bosc - St Lys - St Sulpice s/ Lèze - Salles s/ Garonne - Valentine - Villefranche de Lauragais - Villenouvelle.
    • Hautes Pyrénées: Avezac.Prat.Lahitte - Castelbajac - Galan - Lannemezan - Lubret St Luc - Montgaillard de Bigorre - Peyrouse - Rabastens de Bigord - St Martin - Sere Rustaing - St Sever de Rustan - Tournay - Trie sur Baïse - Vidalos.
    • Les Landes: Arouille s/ St Justin - Betbezer - Bonnegarde - Cazères s/ Adour - Coudures - Duhort Bachen - Geaune en Tursan - Grenade s/ Adour - Hastingues - La bastide Chalosse - La bastide d'Armagnac - - Miramont Sensacq - Montégut - Montfort en Chalosse - Pimbo - Port de Lannes - Rondeboeuf - St Gein - St Geours d'Auribat - St Justin - St Sever - Sarron - Sorde - Souprosse - Toulouzette - Villenave - Villeneuve de Marsan.
    • Lot: Beauregard - Bretenoux - Castelfranc - Castelnau Montratier - Cazals - Labastide du Haut Mont - Labastide du Vert - Labastide Marnhac - Labastide Murat - Montcabrier - Montfaucon - Puybrun - Rudelle - Les Vitarelles - Orgueil - Fons.
    • Lot et Garonne: Aiguillon - Castelnaud de Gratecambe - Castelnau sur Gupie - Castillonnes - Caudecoste - Damazan - Durance - Francescas - Granges sur Lot - Hautesvignes - La bastide Castel Amouroux - Lagruère - Lamontjoie de St Louis - Laparade - Lasserre - Lavardac - Lévignac de Guyenne - Libos (Monsempron) - Londres - Mauvezin sur Gupie sur Gupie - Miramont de Guyenne - Montclar d'Agenais - Monflanquin - Montauriol - Montpezat - Montpouillan - Montréal - Nicole - Puymirol - le Rayet - St Julien Cap d'Orbise - Ste Livrade sur Lot - St Pastour - St Pe de Boulogne - St Sardos - St Sauveur de Meilhan - Sérignac sur Garonne - Le Temple du Breuil - Tournon d'Agenais - Vianne - Villefranche de Queyran - Villeneuve sur Lot - Villeréal.
    • Pyrénées Atlantiques: Ainhoa - Asson - Bellocq - Bruges - Etcharry - Gan - Garlin - La Bastide Cerezacq - La Bastide Clairence - La Bastide Montréjeau - La Bastide Villefranche - Lestelle - Montaut - Navarrenx - Nay - Rebenacq - Sauveterre.
    • Tarn: Arthes - Beauvais s/ Tescou - Brens - Briatexte - Castelnau de Levis - Castelnau de Montmiral - Cordes - Damiatte - Florentin - La Bastide de Levis - La Bastide Denat - La Bastide Rouairoux - La Bastide St Georges - Labessière.Candeil - Lisle s/ Tarn - Pampelonne - Réalmont - Rouairoux - St Gauzens - St Grégoire - St Jean de Rives - St Sulpice La Pointe - St Urcisse - Tecou - Valence d'Albigeois - Villefranche d'Albigeois - Villeneuve s/ Vère - Viterbe.
    • Tarn et Garonne: Albias - Angeville - Beaumont de Lomagne - Castelsagrat - Castelsarrazin - Caumont - Cordes Tolosannes - Donzac - Dunes - La Bastide St Pierre - La Bastide du Temple - La Française - Larrazet - Lauzerte - Mirabel - Molières. - Monclar de Quercy - Montalzat - Montauban - Montech - Montjoi du Quercy. - Négrepelisse - Puylagarde - Réalville - St Nicolas de la Grave - St Sardos - Septfonds - Valence d'Agen - Verdun s/ Garonne - Verfeil s/ Seye - Verlhac Tescou - Villebrumier.

  6. maison à cornieres
    The buildings surrounding the central square of a bastide were built with a wide arcade running along the side of the ground floor of the houses. This provided a walkway and trading space sheltered from the weather where the proprietors of the house could set out their wares for sale.

    These arcades have a variety of names, including auvents and couverts, as well as being known earlier as couvertes, embans or garlandes. But the name most commonly used is cornière.

New translation, the Magna Carta

email abelard email email_abelard [at] abelard.org

© abelard, 2005,23 may

all rights reserved

the address for this document is https://www.abelard.org/france/bastides.php