Monpazier: A Planned Town of the 13th Century

side-by-side images of the same archway. On left, a 19th century drawing; on right, a 2009 photograph

19th century drawing on left, 2009 photograph on right. image / John Reps

This exhibit displays maps, plans, and photographs of Monpazier, the best-known bastide of southwestern France. Many histories of architecture and planning include one or two plans of Monpazier, but this exhibit includes several plans as well as dozens of photographs of the town's buildings and open spaces, taken during the years 1951, 1966, 1999, and 2009.

Bastide is a variation of the Occitan word meaning "building" or "group of buildings." Feudal rulers built these towns in the 13th century to amass wealth through rents, taxes, fines, fees, and other charges and to serve as places where peasants could safely live and farm and where craftsmen could pursue their trades and sell their products. Charters authorized weekly markets and one or more annual fairs, established rules of trade and conduct, specified fines for violations, and provided for the beginnings of municipal self-government under the watchful eye of the feudal lord's steward.

This exhibition is curated by John Reps, professor emeritus of city and regional planning.