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The bastide town of Monpazier, Dordogne

The bastide town of Monpazier, Dordogne

Monpazier is a bastide town; bastides were the model new towns of the 14th century; this was the time of the 100 Years War between the French and the English and the bastides were built to provide security for the inhabitants. They were laid out on a regular grid pattern, and enclosed inside fortified walls, with one entrance gate at each side. The market place with its galleried arcade of shops was the central feature of the bastide; there are small towns and villages built to this design all over south west France.

In Monpazier, like many of the other smaller bastides, a permit is needed to take a car into the town centre, and permits are only granted to residents or people making deliveries, tourists have to park outside and walk in.

This photo was taken on one of the strangest weather days I've ever seen. We had a thunderstorm, with no rain but very frequent bolts of lightning, several striking what felt like very close to us. The conditions were so unusual that the storm made national weather news that day. Overhead virtually one half of the sky was black, and the other half looked fairly normal.

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