I'm not sure if this story is true, but it purports to be.
Previous to the 100 years war (1337-1453), Bastide towns had been built across S W France; usually around 1270-ish. Some were English built; others French. As you can imagine there was much rivalry between them.
At some time, the young men of Villefranche-du-Périgord (my nearest small town, above) decided to go raping, killing, and pillaging, in the rival town of Monpazier (about 30 kms away, below).
Unbeknownst to the men of Villefranche, the men of Monpazier had decided to do exactly the same thing on exactly the same day. They took different routes, and their paths didn't meet.
On arrival at their destinations they found the two towns empty, other than a few women and children. They stole a few things, probably scrawled a few rude words on the walls, and had their evil ways with the women. This done, they probably had a few drinks, then both gangs headed for home.
History tells us that each 'army' took the shortest route back to their respective towns, and fate dictated that they met half way.
By this time they were in no further mood for a fight, so they probably had a picnic together, and agreed to do their fighting another day.
As I said above, I don't know if this story is true, but I certainly hope it is.
N.B. Villefranche was a French Bastide, and Monpazier English. These days Villefranche is a rather lacklustre town, whereas Monpazier is very tourist orientated and buzzing with activity. Both are worth a visit.
Villefranche is beautiful, if that first photo is a typical scene. How I wish I could travel and see more of the world.ReplyDelete
Both photos show the main square in each town. They are very similar with arched entrances to each property (now mostly shops or restaurants).Delete
Very pretty and neat looking towns. If the story is true than there were mixed blood sibling in ether town. Greetings Maria xReplyDelete
An early form of neighbourly love.Delete
Even if it's not true, it's a good story, Cro. Both towns look beautiful, and it's good to know that they've survived over the centuries. We hope that the residents are much better friends now !ReplyDelete
Monpazier has survived more intact than Villefranche, but they both still have plenty of beautiful original buildings.Delete
I stayed in Monpazier with friends many years ago. It was a delightful place...I remember sitting out in the evening watching the swifts whilst eating langoustines flambeed in whisky. Superb!ReplyDelete
It certainly has atmosphere. Some good restaurants there too.Delete
One has a stone market area and the other a wood one. I'm guessing the wood one has been restored over the years.ReplyDelete
The wooden one (Monpazier) certainly looks very old. It is built of Oak, so I suppose it could be original. The stone pillared one (Villefranche) is certainly original, but some of the roof timbers have been changed in recent years.Delete
A genetic study of the populations of the two towns nowadays would make an interesting read....ReplyDelete
Do you think I should suggest it?Delete
Sounds just the sort of thing that men would get up to Cro, if you'll pardon me saying so.ReplyDelete
They still do.Delete
They do plenty of it in war zones.Delete
It's an area I used to know reasonably well but I've spent most of the last 16 years' visits to France in the Poitou-Charentes and Lot-et-Garonne areas. It's always more interesting when there are stories like that to fire the imagination though.ReplyDelete
The Lot-et-Garonne is about 2 Kms from us, as is the Lot. We are one the cusp of 3 departments.Delete
I stayed at Villeneuve-de-Duras and Saint-Sernin where I had/have friends and am ashamed to say that despite being there on many occasions and venturing north quite a lot I cannot recall venturing in recent years south of Duras apart from quite a number of visits to Monségur.Delete