Sitting proud on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Nauze valley, this fortified town boasts seven bell towers and an 11th century keep that is still standing, despite numerous invasions and wars.
This town is well worth a detour for a few days.
It has a number of troglodyte caves which were used as rather austere homes from the 12th century onwards and were discovered by accident at the turn of the 20th century.
This charming medieval town has a lovely central square, Place d'Armes, which holds a market on Saturday mornings and is the focus for games of pétanque.
Its Eglise de Notre-Dame holds a number of concerts during the Festival Bach in August
History & Culture in Belves
High on the hilltop the old Roman fortress reflects the towns strategic importance and development from as early as the 11th century. This walled part of the town remains visible today along with the seven towers, bell tower and city gates.
After the marriage of Helen of Aquitaine to Henry Plantagenet the town came under English rule and the area was one of the major battlegrounds of the Hundred Years' War and the town suffered much damage.
It also suffered greatly through the Wars of Religion and for a time was held by the Protestants. With a fraught history full of battles between the French and the English it's amazing that so much remains intact.
In 1907, a warren of subterranean cave dwellings were discovered. These troglodyte houses were occupied between the 13th - 18th century, after which they were blocked up and forgotten. They were discovered by accident as the wheel of a cart that was crossing the central Place d'Armes broke through the roof of one. There are currently eight houses that have been excavated and are open to visitors.
The Castle of Belvès dates from the 16th century, whilst the imposing church Notre Lady of the Assumption and Our Lady of Montcuq was built in the 13th century and is a good example of an undecorative Gothic style.
Sights & Attractions in Belves
Plenty to see and do in this small bastide town. Apart from enjoying the pretty buildings, narrow streets and traditional market square that surrounds you, the views from the top of the town are stunning.
The Troglodyte Cave Dwellings are incredibly interesting and a great insight into life in the Middle Ages. The seven towers of course are well visited and are a great example of the heritage and architecture of the region.
Events in Belves
The Bach festival certainly stands out as one of the most popular events to be hosted in Belvès.
A night market hosted each Wednesday during the summer months is also very popular, due to their live music entertainment, festive atmosphere and great food.
Their weekly market is on a Saturday.