Bastides, fortified new medieval towns

Monflanquin © Teddy Verneuil / Lot-et-Garonne Tourisme

Bastides were modern before their time and marked a turning point for medieval society in 13th century South West France: a checkerboard layout, main square and customs charter that transformed life and trade as well as fuelling a way of life that endures today. The bastides have real heritage blending the elegance of medieval architecture with signature local influences. Visitors can explore the market halls, arcades, half-timbered houses, churches and ramparts that capture the exciting history of these new medieval towns. 

The bastides of the "Sud-Ouest Authentique"

History and art de vivre

Visitors can explore the market halls, arcades, half-timbered houses, churches and ramparts that capture the exciting history of these new medieval towns

Craftsmanship takes pride of place here, with artisan shops selling unique pieces ranging from pottery to jewellery and local produce. The bastide markets are the perfect place to soak up everyday life and regional flavours. 
Experience the regional food and drink scene and dazzle your senses with traditional restaurants, market produce and local specialities. 
Whether you want to go on a day trip back in time, dive into the arts and crafts culture or sample produce from South West France, Lauzerte, Monflanquin and many other bastides in the region provide an exciting and authentic visitor experience blending heritage, art and local hospitality. 



The benchmark bastide

Listed as one of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France®”, Monflanquin is the archetypal bastide, one of the most iconic and best preserved in the region.

It was founded in 1256 by Alphonse de Poitiers, King Louis IX’s brother, and its history is everywhere you look: its orthogonal layout, lanes known as "carrérots", main square surrounded by arcades, stylish Maison du Prince Noir, Gothic church and views of the surrounding countryside from Cap del Pech.

Do you want to unlock the secret behind the magic? Visit the Bastides Museum above Tourist Information or go on a theatrical tour with Janouille the jester as your guide.  




The hilltop gem

Lauzerte has stunning hilltop views of the surrounding countryside and an unspoilt medieval vibe.

This 12th century bastide unfurls around its fantastic Saint-Barthélemy Church and bustling main square.

Visitors can wander along its narrow lanes lined with half-timbered houses to meet local craftsmen and drink in unobstructed views from the ramparts. 


One of the first bastides in Gascony 

Montréal-du-Gers is listed as one of “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France®” and was built on a rocky headland overlooking the little Vallée de l'Auzoue.

Its vibrant heritage has stood the test of time: fortified outer walls, ribbed gateway, half-timbered houses, square surrounded by solid stone arcades and narrow lanes leading to different pockets in the bastide.

Montréal-du-Gers is also famous for the nearby Gallo-Roman Séviac Villa.  


Montreal-du-Gers © Patrice Thébault / CRTL Occitanie

The Plus Beaux Villages de France® 


Auvillar, Bruniquel, Fourcès, La Romieu, Larressingle, Lauzerte, Lavardens, Monflanquin, Montréal-du-Gers, Penne d’Agenais, Pujols, Sarrant, Tournon d’Agenais and Villeréal all have one thing in common: they’re part of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France®” club that every village worth its salt wants to be in!

Each bastide, hilltop or spiral village has its own personality and brings you a unique experience with heritage and a laidback lifestyle.   
Which are our favourites? Auvillar, Larressingle and Penne d’Agenais.  
Put your own trip together and make time to visit the awe-inspiring Château de Bonaguil. It’s the last of the great French fortresses and looks like something from a fairytale.