Like an island at sea, Monflanquin emerges out of veils of mist against a backdrop of landscapes described by Stendhal as resembling a “Little Tuscany.” Founded in 1256 in the feud for land between the kingdoms of France and England in south-western France, the fortified town has retained its walls, but relinquished its warmongering ways. Heritage, culture, and regional produce have become its tools of choice.
© Antoine Dominique
“Monflanquin, is first an apparition, when, coming around a bend, one suddenly sees the fortified town nestled on its tall and gentle hill,” wrote Mme le Maire. Dominating the Lède Valley, in the Lot-et-Garonne region, this is a magnified description of the village, classified as one of France’s Loveliest Villages, and is met with much emotion as one heads up to the village, strolls along its narrow lanes, or gets fresh air under the corner boards to admire the Place des Arcades. Founded in 1256, the fortified town of Monflanquin is one of the 50 fortified towns built by Alphonse of Poitiers, Count of Toulouse and brother of Louis XI. In the Middle Ages, it was a powerful sign of the struggle for influence between the kingdoms of France and England. Many times destroyed, Monflanquin has always been rebuilt and reinvented itself. Alongside artists and artisans, in the middle of the fortified town “Pollen,” the region’s cultural and art centre, welcomes international visual artists for residencies and offers a broad selection of events. The village called “Little Tuscany” by Stendhal offers a gentle way of life attuned to its colourful landscapes.