Montignac, Dordogne

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Montignac (24) Coulonges angle sud-ouest.jpg
Chateau of Coulonges
Blason ville fr Montignac (Dordogne).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Montignac
Montignac, Dordogne
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Coordinates: 45°04′03″N1°09′44″E / 45.0675°N 1.1622°E / 45.0675; 1.1622 Coordinates: 45°04′03″N1°09′44″E / 45.0675°N 1.1622°E / 45.0675; 1.1622
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Dordogne
Arrondissement Sarlat-la-Canéda
Canton Vallée de l'Homme
  Mayor (20202026) Laurent Mathieu [1]
37.15 km2 (14.34 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [2]
  Density74/km2 (190/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
24291 /24290
Elevation73–273 m (240–896 ft)
(avg. 77 m or 253 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Montignac (Occitan : Montinhac), also called Montignac-sur-Vézère or Montignac-Lascaux, is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is a small town situated on the Vézère river and has been the capital of the canton of Montignac since 1790. In 2015 it became the capital of the newly created Canton de la Vallée de l'Homme. [3] The poet Pierre Lachambeaudie (1806–1872) was born in the village.



Montignac is a commune and small town in the department of Dordogne. It is situated in the historic region of Périgord Noir, just below the confluence of the River Vézère and the Laurence, a small river which rises near the town of Thenon. Montignac is 11 km (7 mi) southeast of Thenon, 13 km (8 mi) southwest of Terrasson-Lavilledieu, and 19 km (12 mi) north of Sarlat-la-Canéda. The D704 district road from Brive-la-Gaillarde passes through the town where it intersects with the D65, D704e and D706. The area of the commune is 3,715 hectares. The highest point is in the northwest and the lowest point in the southwest where the Vézère leaves the commune. [4]


The human presence is evident in Montignac from the Paleolithic period. The city has within its location, the prehistoric site of Lascaux and the deposit at Le Regourdou (Neanderthal man). The city's history begins with Roman colonization. Two villas are evident: The Villa des Olivoux (at Chambon in the north of Montignac) and the villa of Brenac.

In medieval times, the city was equipped with an important fortress. From the eleventh to the fourteenth century it was one of the seats of the Counts of Périgord. It passed by marriage, sale, inheritance before passing into the Albret family. It remained in their hands until 1603, when the king of France Henry IV ceded it to François de Hautefort, Lord of Thenon.

Their Château de Montignac, destroyed in 1825, now lies in ruins, though some wall bases, terraces and a single tower remain. [5] Situated at a strategic site with a fine bridge over the Vézère, the current bridge dates from 1766-1767. Each side of the river testifies to the history of the city. On the right bank, there are still a few narrow medieval alleys with architectural from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries: houses on stilts, half-timbered houses and fountains.

On the left bank, the suburb with its convent, its priory and its quays, recalls the religious and commercial (merchant port) aspects of the city under the old regime. Montignac was the home of the nineteenth-century French writer Eugène Le Roy, who was a district tax collector and wrote two celebrated novels about rural life in eighteenth-century Périgord. There is a small museum in the town dedicated to him. [5]

Montignac was the main area for the district between 1790 to 1795. On the Condat-Le Lardin à Sarlat rail line, the train station at Montignac opened its doors in October 1899; It was in use by passengers until 1940 and by freight up until 1955.


Montignac is the main centre for visiting the prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley. [6] The modern part of the town to the south of the river has several hotels and the tourist office. To the north of the river lies the old town, where there are a maze of streets with fourteenth- to sixteenth-century timbered houses. A market is held here twice weekly and there are restaurants where visitors can sit beside the river under medieval timbered beams. [6]

Montignac has a historic bridge, from which fireworks are launched on holidays such as Bastille Day and during the summer festival of world folklore and dance, which is held annually in July. [6]

The main attraction of the region is the Lascaux Cave, actually a complex of caves containing Upper Paleolithic painted art discovered in 1940 and estimated to be 17,300 years old. The cave was put on show in 1948, but it was found that the paintings were being damaged by the carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors, and in 1963, the cave was closed to the public. A replica cave, known as Lascaux II, was opened nearby in 1983, so that visitors could still experience the paintings without damaging the originals. [7] Since 2016 a larger and more accurate replica is displayed in Lascaux IV Centre International de l'Art Pariétal built by Snøhetta in Montignac. [8] [9] In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley. [10]

Population of Montignac

Historical population

See also

Related Research Articles

Lascaux Cave in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings

Lascaux is a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. Over 600 parietal wall paintings cover the interior walls and ceilings of the cave. The paintings represent primarily large animals, typical local contemporary fauna that correspond with the fossil record of the Upper Paleolithic in the area. They are the combined effort of many generations and, with continued debate, the age of the paintings is now usually estimated at around 17,000 years. Lascaux was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1979, as an element of the Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley.

Dordogne Department of France in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Dordogne is a department in Southwestern France, with its prefecture in Périgueux. The department is located in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees and is named after the river Dordogne that runs through it. It corresponds roughly with the ancient county of Périgord. It had a population of 416,909 in 2013.

Communes of the Dordogne department

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Sarlat-la-Canéda Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Sarlat-la-Canéda, commonly known as Sarlat, is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. Sarlat and La Canéda were distinct towns until merged into one commune in 1965.

Périgord Natural region in France

The Périgord is a natural region and former province of France, which corresponds roughly to the current Dordogne department, now forming the northern part of the admistrative region of New Aquitaine, formerly Occitania. It is divided into four areas called the Périgord Noir (Black), the Périgord Blanc (White), the Périgord Vert (Green) and the Périgord Pourpre (Purple). The geography and natural resources of Périgord make it an unspoiled region rich in history and wildlife, and the newly created Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin aims to conserve it as such.

Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil Part of Les Eyzies in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil is a former commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. On 1 January 2019, it was merged into the new commune Les Eyzies.


The Vézère is a 211-km-long river in southwestern France. It is an important tributary to the Dordogne. Its source is in the northwestern part of the elevated plateau known as the Massif Central. It flows into the Dordogne near Le Bugue. A tributary of the Vézère is the Corrèze.

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Rouffignac-Saint-Cernin-de-Reilhac is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

Arrondissement of Sarlat-la-Canéda Arrondissement in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

The arrondissement of Sarlat-la-Canéda is an arrondissement in France in the Dordogne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It has 138 communes. Its population is 81,863 (2016), and its area is 2,273.1 km2 (877.6 sq mi).

Thenon Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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Badefols-sur-Dordogne Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

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Fanlac Commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Fanlac is a commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

Saint-Amand-de-Coly Part of Coly-Saint-Amand in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Saint-Amand-de-Coly is a former commune in the Dordogne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. On 1 January 2019, it was merged into the new commune Coly-Saint-Amand.

Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley

The Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in France since 1979. It specifically lists 15 prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley in the Dordogne department, mostly in and around Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, which has been called the "Capital of Prehistory". This valley is exceptionally rich in prehistoric sites, with more than 150 known sites including 25 decorated caves, and has played an essential role in the study of the paleolithicum and its art. Three of the sites are the namesakes for prehistoric periods; the Micoquien, Mousterian, and Magdalenian. Furthermore, the Cro-Magnon rock shelter gave its name to the Cro-Magnon, the generic name for the European early modern humans. Many of the sites were discovered or first recognised as significant and scientifically explored by the archaeologues Henri Breuil and Denis Peyrony in the early twentieth century, while Lascaux, which has the most exceptional rock art of these, was discovered in 1940.

Rouffignac Cave Cave and archaeological site with prehistoric art in France

The Rouffignac cave, in the French commune of Rouffignac-Saint-Cernin-de-Reilhac in the Dordogne département, contains over 250 engravings and cave paintings dating back to the Upper Paleolithic.

Périgord noir Natural region in France

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Laugerie-Basse Cave and archaeological site in France

Laugerie-Basse is an important Upper Paleolithic archaeological site within the territory of the French commune Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in Dordogne. It is known for several works of art from the Magdalenian.

Cap Blanc rock shelter Cave with prehistoric art in France

The abri de Cap Blanc is a prehistoric limestone rock shelter with Magdalenian animal sculptures. It is in the Marquay commune on the right bank of the Beune River, a few kilometers west of Eyzies-de-Tayac, in Dordogne.

Le Regourdou Cave and archaeological site in France

Le Regourdou is an archaeological site in the Dordogne department, France, on top of a hill just 800 m (2,600 ft) from the famous cave complex of Lascaux. At this now collapsed 35 m (115 ft) deep ancient karst cavity remarkably well preserved Neanderthal fossils were recovered, that might be skeletal remains of deliberate burials. According to the current excavation team at the site, the correct name of the location is "Regourdou". "Le Régourdou" is considered a misnomer and should be avoided.

Reverdit rockshelter

The Reverdit rockshelter is a rockshelter with sculpted friezes dating to the Upper Palaeolithic, specifically the Magdelenian. It is situated in the commune of Sergeac, in the Vezere Valley of the Dordogne region in France, close to many other sites with surviving palaeolithic art, including Lascaux Cave. It is part of a complex of 12 rock shelters known as Castel Merle.


  1. "Répertoire national des élus: les maires"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020.
  2. "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  3. "Décret no 2014-218 du 21 février 2014 portant délimitation des cantons dans le département de la Dordogne" [Decree no 2014-218 of February 21, 2014 delimiting the cantons in the Dordogne department]. Légifrance. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  4. Philips' Modern School Atlas. George Philip and Son, Ltd. 1973. pp. 42–43. ISBN   0-540-05278-7.
  5. 1 2 Norton, Janette (2015). Walking in the Dordogne: Over 30 walks in southwest France. Cicerone Press. pp. 66–. ISBN   978-1-84965-931-4.
  6. 1 2 3 Dodd, Jan (2013). The Rough Guide to Dordogne & the Lot. Rough Guides Limited. pp. 223–224. ISBN   978-1-4093-2992-3.
  7. Bahn, Paul G. (2007). Cave Art: A Guide to the Decorated Ice Age Caves of Europe. Frances Lincoln. pp. 81–85. ISBN   0711226555.
  8. Lascaux IV: The International Centre for Cave Art, Snøhetta projects, website
  9. Lascaux IV International Centre for Cave Art, official website. (archived)
  10. "Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley". UNESCO World Heritage Center. Retrieved 30 December 2012.