Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne (pop 1,300) is a pretty town with beauty in its name (Beaulieu literally means beautiful place). This small town sits idly on the Dordogne river bank, combining the beauty of its waterfront location with historic buildings. The town also houses an old abbey at its heart, as like many of its neighbours; Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne was an important stop on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. The once flourishing medieval city still retains its rich heritage in its medieval quarters, which is well spotted with numerous 14th to 15th century mansions.

The town’s most distinct sight is the 12th century Abbatiale St-Pierre [rue de l’Abbaye +33 555910994]. This abbey was built on the foundations of a 9th century Benedictine monastery and its construction spanned across 50 years. It functioned as an important religious site until the Hundred Years War, when its popularity declined due to religious battles. It was then fully dissolved and destroyed (except the church) during the French Revolution. However, a few notable features such as the tympanum (which depicts the Last Judgement), the silver and gold statue of Virgin and child and the Baroque-style retable (which depicts the Assumption of the Virgin Mary), still exist in the building.

Just nearby, lies the neighbourhood of Faubourg de la Chapelle. This area, brings you to a later period in history, as the streets are lined with 17th to 18th century houses; as well as the old Chapelle des Pénitents (see photo), which was built to house pious parishioners who weren’t allowed into the abbey, as it was strictly reserved for monks and paying pilgrims.

Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne's annual Fête de la Fraise (Strawberry Festival) is held every May, to celebrate the yearly harvest and it sees almost 20 000 visitors from across the globe! It incorporates anything and everything to do with strawberries, from street parades and markets to baking a giant pie (8m diameter).





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BEAULIEU-SUR-DORDOGNE  1. Tourism Office  2. Chapelle des Pénitents