Eymet, Bastide was founded in 1270 by Allophone de Poitiers, brother of St. Louis, on a site that has been inhabited since prehistoric times; jewels and domestic objects found on the site of Eymet date back to the Bronze-age. Other evidence such as bridges and roads point to Roman occupation.
The Bastide, newtowns of the middle ages were created during the 13th century by the lords and royalty, who offered political, social and economic guarantees to attract people into the town.
All Bastides have a familiar air, roads are cut at right angles, identical houses, ramparts ( high walls to protect the town against enemies) in the middle the central place with its boutiques and diverse commerce.
Eymet was constructed on a general plan like many of 'the bastides' with its high encircling walls (ramparts) and towers isolated by a moat which was fed by the river 'Tibre', with the central place and covered arcades, the church which often played a defensive role, and octagonal roads. Eymet possessed a fortified castle (of which remnants can be seen today) with its square donjon and defensive walls. The round tower permitted communication with the donjon. The central place was accessible by 3 gates of which 2 were mounted by towers. The villagers were offered 200msq per family for the construction of a house within a 2 year period otherwise they would have to pay a fine, they also had a plot of land for vegetables etc.. outside the encircling walls.
All the gates have disappeared except the gates of the castle which was damaged during the revolution. A charter was laid down and Thursday was fixed as market-day.
Eymet remains a dynamic centre for commerce with its industries i.e. conserves, winemerchants and of course 'foie gras'. Eymet is visited by tourists of all nationalities approximately 10,000 a year.
As the Latin poet Sidoine Appolinaire said 1500 years ago: 'Those who live here, have an image of paradise'.
Thanks to the Mairie d'Eymet for allowing us to reproduce this text.