A small town another stop Payrac!

Ok so this was just passing by but memorable that it was our first long trip alone with the boys and not my dear late wife Martine. We were coming from Toulouse where we stayed and not wanting to go on the autoroute expressway we took a leisurely road back home. And we stop at another pin in my world map the small wonderful friendly town of Payrac.

Payrac is located in the Lot department, no. 46 in the Occitanie region. The town is located in the Bouriane natural region, on the old royal road D 820 (we took) and D 673 between Souillac and Cahors.

I dig some information on the history of Payrac as I like it

Payrac was an important town under the Roman peace. The oldest written mention of the village dates back to the 10C. The terrible military campaigns, looting and destruction of the Hundred Years War, as well as the plague of 1347 test the population, so that the region ends up almost uninhabited!

During the feudal era, Payrac belonged to the lords of Gourdon, a fortified city which still remains the capital of Bouriane. Around 1279, Payrac became the property of the Verneuil family and remained so for approximately five hundred years. It was at this time, in the 13-14C that the castle, of which only the big feudal tower remains, was built. During the Hundred Years War, the population was practically exterminated; the region was then repopulated from neighboring regions. In the 16C, Payrac suffered from religious wars. After a defeat in 1580 in Rocamadour, the Protestants took refuge in the church and in the castle of Payrac. It was then burnt down and the Protestants were exterminated. From the Renaissance, Payrac grew in importance as a postal center and stage relay. Mail from major cities in France was deposited there to be redirected throughout the region.

The French revolution of 1789 led to the depopulation of Payrac. Then came the opening, under the reign of Napoleon 1er, of an imperial road crossing Payrac to link Paris to Toulouse, this is the current RD 820 (we came in), then the advent of the railway transporting goods faster and further, which diminished the preponderant role of commercial plate that Payrac had become. Until the beginning of the 20C, vines and lavender were cultivated in the canton of Payrac, a lavender distillery was even present there. Phylloxera destroyed most of the vines, while the cultivation of lavender was abandoned in favor of more productive regions like Provence.

Some things to see in Payrac

From this rich past, Payrac has kept only a few buildings, including the castle, the former lair of the lordship of Gourdon, with its large round tower from the 16C. It has two floors on a vaulted room in the semi-basement. Loopholes pierce it, allowing the use of a small artillery. The house dates from the 18C. The castle welcomed the sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul from 1856 to 1957. Some inhabitants of Payrac have kept the habit of calling the castle, the convent for this reason.

Also, Church of St. Pierre, the Romanesque church, poorly maintained, was mined and destroyed in 1899 as well as the covered market and the town hall. The new church, completed in 1901, is an amazing building of real beauty. Modern for the time, but inspired by ancient and neoclassical styles, it has magnificent stained glass windows from the beginning of the 20C, the work of glassmakers from the Lot. They represent the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. They were restored in 2001 with great care and have regained all their splendor. From the old church, the sanctuary preserves a beautiful Madonna and Child in carved wood and a small tabernacle in Louis XVI style. A bust of Christ crucified carved in wood and polychrome dating from the late 17C to early 18C is located in the Saint-Joseph chapel of the church.

The city/town hall, built in 1911, replacing the old town hall destroyed at the same time as the old Saint-Pierre Church because glued to the latter, is a fine example of bourgeois architecture from the beginning of the 20C; built in briquettes and white stone, it stands out from other buildings in the center of the village. Deprived of its bell tower since 1948 ; it was rebuilt identically thanks to numerous donations from the inhabitants of the village and some businesses. Bourgeois houses from the 18-19C along the old royal road N 20 today D820. Picturesque houses in the old town, old 17C porch in rue Saint-Louis. Large wrought iron cross from 1829 at a crossroads near the washhouse. The Pope Pius VII, who stopped at the Payrac post office on the night of January 30 to January 31, 1814.

Of course, I was passing by on the D820 and did not stop long enough to see the above. However, I will be back! We did stop for a funny encounter at the restaurant Le Centre, right on the D820, they have a nice Facebook page here: Facebook page of Le Centre in Payrac


We were getting hungry so we saw this picturesque place on the road passing it by we quickly turn around for it. The folks inside about 3 gentlemen were very nice and welcoming and we ordered our beers just for the apero starter. We exchange some conversation as we were with our dog Rex a borador, and they have dogs too so animal lovers we struck very nicely. Then, we decided to ordered food but heck, the place does not have the kitchen open on weekends!!! so we could not eat here! Hungry but with a nice talk and good cold beers we continue our journey happily!!! And Le Centre will be in our mind once in the area again! Hope you enjoy the story as we did/do.


The city of Payrac on heritage in French: City of Payrac on heritage

Tourist office on the Valley of the Dordogne on Payrac in French: Tourist office valley of the Dordogne on Payrac

And there you go folks , my road warrior trip came up with another nice encounter of the fourth kind and we love it. Payrac gave us a nice impression good enough to keep it in our hearts for a real visit soon. Hope you enjoy the post and Payrac story.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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