Location Guide: Perigueux

Location Guide: Perigueux

Over 2,000 years of history have cemented the city’s place at the heart of Dordogne, and it still has much to offer, writes Karen Tait..

Périgueux, capital of the historic province of Périgord Blanc as well as the modern- day department of Dordogne, is a city befitting its prefecture status. On the banks of the River Isle, it has existed since Roman times. Its importance grew through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, when many of the buildings that still stand today were constructed, along with the Roman amphitheatre.

At this time the city became an important stopping-off point on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route and key religious monuments include the hilltop Romanesque- Byzantine St-Front cathedral, now a Unesco World Heritage Site and the largest cathedral in southwest France. Although the city prospered, it went on to suffer during the Hundred Years’ War and Religious Wars.

The city divides into two historic quarters: the Cité, where elegant 19th-century boulevards superseded the Roman town (head for the Vesunna Museum to see the ground floor of a Roman villa) and the St-Front area, home to narrow winding streets lined with medieval and Renaissance buildings. Although the city’s medieval ramparts no longer remain, you can climb the Mataguerre tower opposite the tourist office for a bird’s eye view of the town, or visit the Eschif lookout post, guarding the Tournepiche bridge.

Built on commerce as well as religion, the city is a hub for everything going on in the area. There’s a vibrant daily market but the event of the week is the Saturday market which spreads out through the city’s streets. At the heart of truffle country, there are also winter truffle markets and black diamonds’ feature on restaurant menus.

The area is well located for UK flights, with airports at Bergerac, Limoges, Bordeaux and Brive-la-Gaillarde, and good train connections. From Calais, the city is 770km by road, or 535km from St-Malo.

The lively Dordogne town makes a great place for a pied-à-terre, while those seeking an income will be attracted by the thriving local tourism market. There’s also buy-to-let potential, both on a holiday and long-term basis. A home in the beautiful surrounding countryside or within one of the quaint villages with Périgueux on the doorstep is also an appealing proposition. Average property prices in Périgueux are €1,740/ m², a little higher than the wider Dordogne area (€1,570) reflecting the city’s standing.

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Lead photo credit : © shutterstock

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