A number of fortuitous circumstances have combined to first establish and then preserve a wealth of fabulous architecture throughout the region.
The favourable climate and incredible natural resources have ensured that throughout history the land has born rich fruit. Highly successful industries in wine, tobacco, prunes, dried tomatoes, truffles – all specialities of the Perigord and surrounds – have all contributed to a formidable generation of wealth. This has provided the need and money to warrant and enable the building of magnificent buildings and infrastructure.
Whilst on the one side the natural resources and climate may have produced wealth and economic growth, it has also resulted in the area being the target for territorial land grab and plunder. Local history is peppered with conflict, and it was the never-ending threat of invasion that has necessitated the construction of chateau and fortified towns and homes. Fortunately, many of the conflicts were to have been sufficiently low intensity, and without more modern weapons of greater destruction, that the majority of these fine defensive structures have survived today.
An Abundance of Excellent Materials
Much of the geology of the Perigord is limestone – a durable material that was easy to quarry and work – and has formed the walls of the buildings that survive today. Moreover, French Oak is abundant, and this strong and durable wood has similarly proved to be a lasting material for beams, floors and roof structures. The final key building material has been clay, of which there is plenty in local soil, which fired has covered roofs and tiled floors for centuries. The durability of each of these key materials has ensured the lasting viability of buildings - some of which now have parts dating back over a thousand years. They’ll continue to be good for some time to come!