Gourdon is the historical capital of the Bouriane region (Midi-Pyrenees). A lively, friendly market town, it is situated on gentle slopes leading down to the doorstep of the Dordogne and can be seen for miles. Its circular boulevards are filled with shops, bars and cafes, as well as medieval yellow-stone houses and the town has a rich prehistoric inheritance due to the artistic men and women who took refuge in its local caves at the beginning of time and drew on their walls.
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The town can be accessed via Bergerac, Bordeaux, Limoges and Toulouse airports, all of which have regular flights to the UK.
In the Middle Ages, Gourdon was an important place, due to its four monastries. During this time the town enjoyed immense wealth and influence with the most famous and powerful families in Quercy residing there, until 1189, when Richard the Lionheart took over and immediately murdered the feudal lords.
The town’s situation then gradually grew worse, throughout the Wars of Religion in particular as they were centered in this area. Yet, Gourdon remained strong; a paragon of resistance, especially against the English and in the sixteenth century the town began to prosper once again with the art of weaving.
During the Second World War, the town used its powers of resistance against the Germans and for such bravery and heroism, it received the Croix de Guerre in 1948.
Today, it continues to protect its rich heritage admirably and walking around is a delight, beholding the medieval yellow-stone houses and numerous chapels.
Rue de Majou is where the action starts, the main street of the old town, it is lined with beautiful yellow stone houses, most famous being the Maison d’Anglars (no.17) which was built in the thirteenth century. This street then leads a square with the most prominent landmark in Gourdon: the fourteenth century St Pierre church. Built in 1302, it has Baroque architecture, two 100ft towers and a gallery with paintings by Frères Tournier. The 17 th century Hôtel de Ville is also situated in this square and nearby, in La Place des Marronniers, there is the family home of the Cavaignacs, a family of prominent public figures famous in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The town’s castle (situated at the top of the hill) has been reduced to ruins; however, a trip in a ‘Gabare’ (riverboat) takes you along the Dordogne River to discover the other beautiful castles in the area: Castelnaud, for example, which is a large château fort that changed hands between the English and French countless times, before being turned into a museum of medieval warfare. Canoeing along this river is also fun to do.
The caves (Grottes) of Cougnac are the best example of Gourdon’s prehistoric inheritance. Discovered in 1949, one can now visit the beautiful rock formations and paintings dating from 25,000 – 14,000 BC.
The nearby Domaine de Loisirs d’Ecoute s’il Pleut has a beach and a beautiful lake for swimming, there is also a selection of 18-hole golf courses in the surrounding area, and fishing, hiking, cycling and horseriding around the breathtaking landscapes are popular pastimes.
Meanwhile, the centre of town has a cinema, a twice-weekly farmers market where locals sell their goods direct, four choirs that host several concerts throughout the year, a summer music festival with performances by orchestras and soloists and a wonderful medieval festival with re-creations of life in the middle ages, including jugglers, acrobats, musicians, poets and actors ‘kidnapping’ tourists to hold to ransom.
Travelling further afield is also popular as Gourdon is an ideal starting base for visiting Sarlat and Les Eyzies in the North, Rocamadour in the East and Cahors in the South. All of which are famous touristic sites.
Food and Drink
Above everything come truffles, foie gras, walnuts and goats cheese (les cabécous), accompanied by Cahors red wine. Mushrooms (les cèpes), honey (le miel), chestnuts (les châtaignes) and walnut cake (le gâteau aux noix) are also local specialities.
Le Croque Note, 12 Rue Jean Jaurès, tel no : 05 65 41 25 49, menu : €15-30 for traditional French cuisine.
Au Vieux Four, Rue Basse, tel no : 04 93 09 68 60, menu : €15-30 for traditional French cuisine
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property near Gourdon. We have a large network of agents in Midi-Pyrenees. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, villa, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property near Gourdon matching your requirements.