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A-Z Guidebook: Issigeac, France

Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.

* Remember, if you don’t have a location that starts with the letter, you can select the alternate theme. This month:

I or Indigenous

Issigeac (Izzy-Jac) is a tiny village in the south-west of France in an area known as Perigord of The Dordogne. It is a bastide or fortified medieval village with quaint half timbered houses and cobbled laneways. Unusually for a bastide, it’s built in a snail shell spiral, winding around the church and Bishop’s Palace rather than the traditional grid pattern. Ancient houses lean jauntily over the narrow laneways and tiny alleys have little gaps so you can squeeze through to the next ring in the shell. Despite the surge of globalisation and mass tourism, it remains a charming little town with the same population it had 50 years ago of around 650 people. This is in part because it has very basic services with only a couple of bars, a small shop and real estate agent. Having said that, the property prices are astronomical as many Brit ex-pats try to buy into the ‘A Place In The Sun’ lifestyle.

Steetscape with winding lanes and medieval buildings in the small town of Issigeac in South-West France.

So how did I find myself in Issigeac? We were lucky enough to do a home exchange with a lovely couple from the US who have a holiday home in the neighbouring town of Eyreneville (pop: negligible). Issigeac hosts the local Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings and we visited on several occasions. And what a market it is! Should I buy a punnet of fresh local raspberries? (yes) Or a bag of local hazelnuts? (yes) Or maybe I should watch the local farmer giving away unpasteurised milk in protest of EU regulations (double yes). The region is known as ‘The Greedy South-West’ and it’s easy to see why. Whilst Issigeac is not exactly on the beaten path, I can’t possibly imagine visiting southern France again without making a detour to this town and at least enjoying an aperitif in the bar and reminiscing.

Read more about my visit to the Issegiac Farmer’s Market.

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16 comments… add one
  • Tandy I Lavender and Lime February 15, 2016, 2:00 pm

    What an interesting place to visit. We’ve been to villages in France, so small they only had a Church, school and cemetery 😉

    • Fiona Ryan February 17, 2016, 7:05 pm

      Yes, Eyreneville (where we were staying), only had a church.

  • Emily (Cooking for Kishore) February 16, 2016, 1:32 pm

    Sounds like a lovely place to visit, and a farmer giving away fresh milk sign me up! 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 17, 2016, 7:03 pm

      You know those French. They don’t like to be dictated to by anyone!

  • Sherry from sherryspickings February 16, 2016, 6:22 pm

    It looks glorious !

  • Marianna February 17, 2016, 5:08 am

    The place is beautiful to visit!

  • Joy @MyTravelingJoys February 17, 2016, 10:17 am

    Sounds like a lovely visit especially when a farmer’s market is included! 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 17, 2016, 7:01 pm

      The farmer’s market has a dish I had never heard or seen before. Tourtiere – a wonderful version of of an apple tart.

  • Annette February 18, 2016, 7:32 pm

    Sounds divine Fiona and what a great idea, do a home exchange!

    • Fiona Ryan February 19, 2016, 10:53 am

      We did many home exchanges Annette – that was one of the reasons we could afford to stay for 18 months in Europe.

      • Annette February 19, 2016, 11:33 am

        So a house swap arrangement or housesitting Fiona?

        • Fiona Ryan February 20, 2016, 10:04 am

          House swaps. We did swaps in Spain, Switzerland, several in the UK, France etc. Some for a week, a couple for a few months. Through two different sites. Who wouldn’t want to escape the freezing Winter of Europe for a few weeks in sunny Brisbane? It took a lot of planning and ‘ground crew’ support but we are planning another trip for 2018 using swaps to cut costs.

  • retrostuart February 19, 2016, 9:32 am

    Perigord is a favourite region of mine also. You transported me back.

    • Fiona Ryan February 19, 2016, 10:57 am

      It was still quite rural and very pretty so we enjoyed it very much. Every day we visited ‘la source’ and drew water from the well to enjoy during the day. A different world.

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