Périgueux is the capital of Dordogne and of the historic province that preceded it, Périgord. It is by some distance the largest town in the region, and out appreciation of it suffered for that. The central part of Périgueux – historically called Puy-St-Front district – is attractive enough, but the town is too big to be called quaint and the ratio of exceptional to everything else is not too high in a place of this size.
The most impressive sight in Périgueux is undoubtedly the St-Front Cathedral, which we already saw in the previous post. It is worth looking at again.
That was the view from across the river L’Isle. Here a couple of opposite views, from Rue Taillefer.
Main squares and streets of Périgueux have a fair share of eye-catching buildings, many of which retain medieval features alongside more recent architectural decisions. These two landmark buildings on Place de l’Ancien Hôtel de Ville are the clearest of examples.
The building on the left, Hôtel d’Abzac de Ladouze, dates from the 15th century. Its immediate neighbor is a typical example of the French 19th-century architecture.
A fortified mansion from the 14th century, called Maison du Pâtissier.
It was once owned by the Talleyrand family. Its present name originated much later, in the 19th century, when the mansion was owned by a merchant who got rich selling the famous pâté de Périgueux.
For contrast, a contemporary fountain sits in front of the mansion.
Sometimes, layers of architectural solutions of different ages are seen on the same façade.
The precincts between the river and the cathedral have been extensively reconstructed over the centuries. One building on the quay stands out: Eschif, the toll-bridge guard tower built in 1347.
It is frequently erroneously called “The Old Mill” even though it never was one.
A few more fragments of the town.
There are a couple of museums in Périgueux that are potentially worth the time, headlined by the Greco-Roman Vesunna Museum. There is also a lively shopping scene, as behooves a larger town, and plenty of great dining options. Add that to the exploration of the historic center on foot, and Périgueux can easily support a half-day or even a full-day visit.