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History of the Bastide

Welcome to the " PAYS FOYEN"

This tour, which should take about one hour on foot, will guide you through the narrow streets of Sainte Foy takingg time to discover with you, a little of the history of this fascinating small town.

Why the name " Sainte Foy la Grande"

FOY, who was born around 290AD, was the daughter of a Roman Aristocrat from Agen. Having become a Christian she refused to relinquish her faith, preferring instead to submit to torture and death at the age of 13. She was revered after her death and several miracles were repoted. Legend tells of a monk from Conques who integrated with the community of Sainte Foy and brought back the remains of the "Wellbeloved" to his Abbey.

In 1076, the monks of Conques were established in the "Manse du Venerol" near to a Priory where Sainte Foy was venerated. It was therefore decreed that this become the name of the new town created by Alphonse de Poitiers.

We know that the town developed rapidly and by virtue of the 1363 Act, the town was given the name Sainte Foy la Grande, no doubt to distinguish it from others of the same name.



The building and dovecot which houses the tourist office dates from the 15th century.

On the upper floors the walls are of cross-timbered wattle and daub. The building had its " ENOBLING TURRET" added in 1950. 

The turret was awarded by Henri IV  to a consul of the city who lived in the house, for services given to the crown.

Actually, this building is the local of the tourist office.




Next door to the tourist office is a particulary interresting half timbered house. The house dates from the second half of the XVth century and the sculpted beams on the facade depict medieval images of people and animals reprensting on the one side good and to the other, evil



Originally it was a wooden construction and was built in the middle of the "PLACE PUBLIQUE".

In 1742 the town council decided to rebuild it in the Eastern Quarter of the town close to the ramparts.

Distinguished by its 20 columns, the MARKET HALL is made from Rotersac Stone (local to the Dordogne) and held in place by a robust wooden frame covered with hollow tiles.


This building dates from the XVII° century. Originally it formed part of a Royal Garrison Barracks.

Then, in 1686, Louis XIV installed a community of "FILLES DE LA LOI" whose role it was to teach reading, writing and the Catholic faith to the girls the town and of course to instruct them in their duties as women-folk. 



Port Ste Foy, BARDOULETS Beach, Chateau Larmane and also the " Maison du fleuve et du Vin" (the river and wine house) are to be found on the other side of the dordogne.

Here you can taste the best vineyards of the region and at the same time admire models of the "Gabares", which were flat bottomed boats used to transport casks of wine to Grat Britain and Holland.

Thanks to the port and of course the wine trade, the town has prospered since the Midde Ages. The embankment was built at a  later date, sometime between 1850 and 1856.



It was around this square that all city life turned and, when it was originally built, the square had Arcades on all foour sides.

Its southern arcade was demolished at the time of Napoleon III in order to allow the passage of vehicles and stagecoaches along Imperial Highway 136.




This building, is one of oldest in the "BASTIDE". Dating from the XIII° century, this house is built entirely from local stone.

Fomerly a craftsman's house it has huge arched medieval bays typical of the ear.

Note the stone archway, depicting grimacing figurines.



A temple was built to replace the previous church which was constructed in the XIV° century and situated in the "Place du Marché à la volaille".

This enormous protestant church was able to hold the entiere population of the town, same 3000 souls and was demolished in 1683, in accordance with an edict issued by the "Guyenne" Parliament.

In 1829 the present Temple was inaugurated and is home to a fine organ which was recently restored.



This XIII° century property on two floors is unusual and of an architecture rarely found in a Bastide town.

It must be presumed to have had either civic or religious signifiance.

Obsrve its twin trefoil windows. Adjoined to this building wa can also see an "ANDRONNE" ; which was a rain water drain which served also as a fire break.

At the firts floor level, we find an overhanging public convenience from which waste matter dropped into the "ANDRONNE".


Built by the Knights Templar at the beginning of development of the Bastide town, it was destroyed in 1561, during the Religious Wars. All that remains of the original architecture is tis facade, the oratory and a rostrum.

The church was rebuilt at the time of Louis III who was very anxious to show the supremacy of Catholicism.

In 1850 by way of funds raised by the Lord Bishop Langalerie, the church was enlarged, the vaults were raised and in 1871the steeple was heightened. The lovely stained glass windows also date from this era. The pulpit, carved from walnut, represents Hercule cruching the Hydra of Herne and could be interpreted as Catholicism overcoming Protestantism.


OT du Pays Foyen - 102 rue de la République - 33220 Sainte-Foy-La-Grande - OT  Tél : -  espace "TOURISME & VIN" Tél :