In and around Souillac
A monastery, market and medieval architecture make Souillac a delight to explore
Bordering the Dordogne department of France, the small town of
Souillac is situated on the north-western edge of the Lot
department to the south of the country's centre. An historic and
picturesque base from which to explore the many attractions of the
beautiful Dordogne Valley and black Périgord regions, Souillac has
its own share of highlights to offer.
In the tenth century Benedictine monks chose a patch of marshland upon which to found a monastery and settlement, working hard to dry out the land; souilh, from which the town takes its name, means 'marshland where boars wallow'. The current abbey and church of Sainte-Marie de Souillac is one of the town's architectural highlights and dates back to the twelfth century, although damage sustained during religious wars, the Hundred Years War between England and France and a subsequent fire led to extensive rebuilding in the seventeenth century.
Today Souillac is a delightful town, easily explored on foot, which retains facets of its medieval heritage including its surrounding defensive wall featuring five separate gateways. The Municipal Library is housed in a beautifully-preserved fourteenth century building, whilst the Rue de la Halle contains many further examples of fine historic architecture. There are also quaint cafes, an open air market and shops which sell products for which the region is renowned including paté de foie gras and fine wines.