The Périgord (Peiregòrd or Périgòrd in the Occitan language, peirigord in perigordian dialect), is the name of the County which covered the current Dordogne department in the region Aquitaine-Poitou-Charentes.
The Dordogne department is essentially rural and has a wide cultural, archaeological and historical heritage.
History of Périgord
During this glacial period, characterized in Périgord by the presence of Rennes dears and mammoths found on the paintings and engravings of many caves famous in the region (Rouffignac, Lascaux, etc…), prehistoric men, hunters, live at the foot of the limestone cliffs, in which traces are visible in the rock shelters and caves of Vézère and Dordogne valleys.
Some of these traces are more than 400’000 years old.
This period (3’000 years BC) is characterized by the settlement of man and the development of agriculture with the appearance of metal-working (copper, bronze, iron).
Antiquity is characterized by the emergence of the Celts petrocorii territory which, after the Gaul’s wars, became one of the cities of the Roman province of Aquitaine, whose capital is Vesunna (Vesonne / Périgueux). Vesunna then acquired important facilities of urban infrastructure (aqueducts, amphitheatres, etc…) which some remains are still present in the current city of Périgueux.
From the Middle Ages to the Revolution
Erected into a County in the 8th century, the first Earl appointed by Charlemagne was Wildbade in 778. In the 12th century, the Périgord falls under the dependency of the Duchy of Aquitaine and passes with it under the authority of the King of England, following the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine with the King Henri II Plantagenet (1152).
In 1398, the King of France dispossesses the Count of Périgord of his fief, which passes successively to the Houses of Orléans, of Penthièvre and d’Albret, before being incorporated into the royal domain by Henri IV (1607). In 1790 is created Department of the Dordogne within limits corresponding almost to the former Périgord.
Castles & Bastides from Périgord
There are in Périgord over 1,000 castles, manors, chartreuses and other forms of country houses and fortresses. The construction of these castles is stretched from the 11th century to the French revolution, allowing a juxtaposition of various architectural currents.
Bastides created in the 13th and 14th centuries and located in the southwest of the Department and bear witness to the confrontation between the King of England and the Count of Toulouse (whose bastides were built in the Agen area). The major feature of the bastide is its geometric plan structured around the place du Marché (Monpazier).
The old natural sub regions of the Périgord and the four large baronies that partly resulted now find themselves under the modern names of green, white, black and purple Périgord.
To the North, the green Périgord (around Nontron), whose colour is twinned with clear oak and chestnut forests that are there as well as grasslands. Geologically, it is the granite part of the Dordogne, which belongs to the Massif Central.
Center & Northwest
In the centre and Northwest, the whitePérigord (around Riberac and Perigueux), whose name recalls the colour of the limestone soil of the region. The major grain fields gave him the nickname of attic of the Périgord.
To the Southeast, the blackPérigord (around Sarlat-la-Caneda), historically the oldest appellation of the four, black pointing to so-called green-oaks forests but that are very dark indeed.
To the Southwest, the purplePerigord (around bergerac), this name is the most recent (1970). It is due to the expansion of tourism, purple recalling the colour of vine leaves in the fall. Once the Bergerac was part of the white Périgord.
Périgord’s Vineyards & Black Truffle
The vineyard of Bergerac is the second of Aquitaine by its size. Neighbour to Bordeaux from which it was initially a part, it is the result of an ancestral tradition producing excellent wines and covers nearly 13000 hectares of land.
The complex topology of the Bergerac region offers an extreme diversity expressed by 13 Appellations of controlled Origin (AOC) including the essential Côtes de Bergerac, Pécharmant, Rosette, Saussignac, Monbazillac, Montravel… Each based on well-defined terroirs complying with specific producing processes.
The main varieties that make up the vineyard are merlot, cabernet-sauvignon, cabernet-franc for the reds and sauvignon, semillon and muscadelle for whites.
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Périgord’s Black Truffle
The black Truffles from Périgord & several derived products from goose and duck as well as autumn mushrooms work well with the Bergerac vineyard to create a unique gastronomy in France.
One of the tastiest truffle variety in the world is the “tuber melanosa melanosporum”, called truffe du Périgord.
Famous since antiquity, for both flavourign dishes and therapeutic qualities, the black truffle from Périgord offers an unforgettable perfume, mixing smells of undergrowth, soil & humus, supplemented by roasted dried fruit.