A unique fortified village
“Well, if you intend to be exceptional, you might as well go way beyond the limits.” Bernard Barret, Regional Storyteller, uses tongue-in-cheek to explain Vianne.
When Jourdain de L’Isle signed the deed of foundation for the fortified village in 1284, he paid tribute to one of his aunts who had just bequeathed her property and land to him: Vianne of Gontaut-Biron, eldest daughter of Lord of Montgaillard, whose castle still overlooks Vianne today.
Jourdain de L’Isle did not realize that this decision would brand Vianne with a seal of exception and elevate it to the top-ranking Lot-et-Garonne fortified communes, and the only one to bear a feminine patronym.
An English fortified village
But Vianne’s exception also came from its origin, as it was English and not French unlike its closest neighbours: the deed of foundation signed by Jourdain de l’Isle was concluded in 1284 with King Edward I of England.
To find out more:
Bernard Barret, Regional Storyteller. Tel: +33 (0)5 53 97 06 49 oru +33 (0)6 77 89 02 41.
For groups of 8 and more; €4 per person (up to 12 people); €3 per person (if more than 12 people).
Other fortified communes nearby:
Villeneuve-sur-Lot, down by the riverside
Prefer to keep to the right bank of the Lot River when wandering around to take in the regular pattern, particular to fortified villages and towns. Stop off to admire Place Lafayette and its arcades, Pujols and Paris Towers, Cieutats Bridge, to name but a few. Villeuneuve-sur-Lot was founded through a feudal law agreement, concluded in 1264 between Alphonse, Count of Poitiers and the Benedictine Abbey of Eysses.
Damazan, the historic rival
Damazan and Lavardac are the two French fortified communes which surround Vianne the English. Damazan, founded in 1259 by Alphonse, Count of Poitiers, is characterized by its half-timbered houses and its corbelled construction. Whilst its urban planning and rigorous geometry comply with the ideals of new towns built during the Middle Ages, the square showcases brightly-coloured facades and woodwork. A must-see, the nearby canal.