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Brantôme and Green Périgord

A gateway to the Regional Natural Park of Perigord-Limousin, Brantome has an architectural and cultural heritage amongst the most attractive sites in the region.

At the heart of the city, buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, illustrate the town’s long history. Brantome is known as the Green Venice of Perigord : the city is an island borded by the Dronne river and land linked by five bridges.


Brantome has been inhabited at least since Neolithic times. Brantome Abbey was built in a prime location at the foot of a cliff surmounted by a woodland setting on the edge of a river, the Dronne, which flows either side of the medieval city. From the 5th century, hermit monks were cave dwellers, the cliff providing them with shelter and high quality raw material for construction. Legend has it that Charlemagne founded the abbey in about 800AD by depositing the relics of a child martyr Saint Infiltrator.

The city then became a stopover for pilgrims on their way to Saint James of Compostela. Part of the 12th century abbey is built into the cliff. The grottos were converted into a warming house (calefactory), a laundry, the abbey mill and the pigeon cave. The "Fountain Rock" dedicated to St. Sicaire is still reputed for improving fertility. Over the centuries, the abbey was rebuilt several times. In the 15th century it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. In the 16th century, it continued to develop with the addition of a palace and a Renaissance abbey garden.

The oldest bell tower in France is Romanesque and dates from the 11th century. It has the distinction of being built not on the church, but on the rocky overhang 12 meters above it. The construction of a parish church, Notre-Dame church, distinct from the abbey church dates from 1516.

Abbe Pierre de Mareuil undertook aesthetic improvements during the 16th century. He created a walled garden "the Monk’s Park where three altars still exist to this day.

Pierre de Bourdeille the ruling abbot from 1556 to 1614, saved the abbey from looting by reform troops thanks to his connections with Admiral Coligny.

The Green Périgord

Green Perigord is a natural reserve in the north-west of Dordogne. It takes its name from important agricultural and forested areas that characterize its territory. The gentle landscape is crossed by numerous rivers such as the Dronne, the Isle, the Auvézère and the Bandiat.

The fauna and flora are remarkable, they are protected by the regional natural park of Périgord-Limousin.

Green Périgord today is one of the four main tourist attractions of Perigord, along with white Périgord, black Périgord and purple Périgord.