What to do and see in Monpazier

Monpazier is full of character and charm, a medieval bastide village only 10 minutes from us at Le Mas & Le Mazet. To help you get the most out of a visit, we have put this article together about what to do and see in Monpazier.

Monpazier is one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, and rightly so. When you drive towards the village you’ll see a medieval gate ahead of you. At that point you can either follow the road around the the left and take the first right and immediate left into a car park; or you can turn right before the gate and drive along the outside of the village until you find a parking space.

The bastide town of Monpazier, close to Le Mas & Le Mazet gîtes, by MOSSAT

Monpazier was founded on January 7, 1284 by King Edward I of England. It was an important stronghold during the Hundred Years War and it wasn’t until a hundred years later that it came under the rule of the French.

The town was also a centre of peasant rebellion (revolution des croquants) twice in 1594 and te again in 1637, provoked by the misery brought about by the War of Religions. Both uprisings were brutally suppressed: the 1637 peasants’ leader was broken on the wheel in the village square.

The village square today is beautiful and peaceful – a great place to grab a coffee or a glass of wine. There are lots of artisan shops – pottery, glass blowing, leather, soap – to discover, and several antique and brocante shops.

The market on Thursday mornings is always fun and worth going to – even in the winter! It’s also worth walking around the outskirts of the village, there is a beautiful lavoir – or washing area with a a natural spring in one corner.

Le Corbusier considered Monpazier to be a masterpiece of urban planning, and it’s something I love about the village! The main square is fed by 4 roads, which arrive at each corner. The corners are designed to filter the pedestrians and those on horseback or with carts. At the corners the pedestrians walk straight ahead under the arches of the loggias; those on horseback are forced at the corners to go through the openings into the square. It’s ingenious!

We hope you enjoy Monpazier as much as we do!