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Belvès - the town of seven belfries

The mediaeval town of Belvès, which is found in the Dordogne department in south-west France, is a fairytale town in a fairytale setting. It occupies a commanding position on top of a hill, overlooking the rolling green countryside and forests of the Perigord, and is packed with architecture, history and atmosphere. Belvès is acknowledged to be one of France's most beautiful towns, and there is plenty of justification for this accolade. The seven bell towers of Belvès are possibly its most remarkable feature, but these are just seven jewels in the glittering crown of this lovely town.

Sights and attractions

It's well worth setting aside a full day to enjoy a visit to Belvès, as you won't want to leave without exploring to the full and giving yourself time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere too. The town, with its hilltop position, was fortified strongly to repel invaders, and there are quite a few parts of the fortifications still remaining to be seen. Belvès is a typical bastide town, following the conventional layout of a central, arcaded square with the streets radiating out in a grid pattern.

Don't forget the troglodyte caves

In addition to the bell towers, you can see the old castle, the town's centrepiece, and around and about the town there is a chateau, a covered market place complete with pillars where you can still see where prisoners were chained to them as punishment, characterful ancient streets with evocative names and a watch tower that has excellent views of the surrounding country. One of Belvès' most unusual and intriguing features is its troglodyte caves, once inhabited.

Shopping, wining and dining

Belvès has a lively attitude, especially in the summer months when the town is once more invaded... but by tourists not hostile forces. The little town is well equipped for life's comforts and pleasures, with shops, restaurants and a Saturday market. The cuisine of the area is robust and delicious, abounding in local luxury products such as duck, truffles and wines.

Out and about

The Dordogne has long been celebrated for its natural beauty, its historic towns, its culture and its climate. This popularity has meant that parts of the region have been sympathetically developed with tourism in mind, and there is access to many activities such as golf, horse-riding, sailing and walking, to name but a few. The towns and villages that can be found near Belvès and which are well worth adding to an itinerary include Sarlat la Canèda (another of France's "plus belle villes"); Brantome, with its Benedictine Abbey and lovely riverside setting; bustling Bergerac; and Riberac, with an acclaimed market.

How to get there

The nearest airport which offers direct flights from the UK is Bergerac, but it is also feasible to fly to Bordeaux, Toulouse or Poitiers. (There is also an airport due to open just south of Brive la Gaillarde near Souillac, which will be even closer, but it remains to be seen which airlines will fly there.) All of those towns also have major train stations. Drivers meanwhile will find the town from the D53/D52, the A20 being the nearest major road.

Property prices and availability in and around Belvès

Property throughout Dordogne has a reputation for being expensive, and this can be the case as the area is highly sought after. However, there are bargain properties around, especially if you are prepared to do a little (or a lot!) of renovation work.

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Belvès AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Belvès?

Belvès is located in the south-west of France, in the south-east of the Dordogne department.

Belvès Property Map

IN THE REGION OF AQUITAINE

Aquitaine Guide

Aquitaine Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DORDOGNE

Dordogne Guide

  Dordogne Map


Population: 1,431


Access: By air: Fly to Bergerac, Bordeaux or Toulouse. By rail: The TGV will take you to Bordeaux, Libourne or Toulouse. By road: The town is located on the D53/D52 road.


Economy: Agriculture and tourism are important to the economy of Belvès.


Interesting fact: Belvès has no less than seven bell towers.

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