Pujols Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Pujols (from the latin word podium) is known for been one of the most beautiful villages in France. The village sits atop a hill 182 metres up, over looking Villeneuve sur Lot just 2km away. The Village itself is just 250 yards (228 metres) long and Pujols region has only about 3500 inhabitants.
I was so lucky to have the village to myself whilst touring around.
The original Pujols (if you can call it that, since it was reconstucted no less than 3 times in its history to date) comprised of seventy houses within 8 metre walls. (see photo of model which is housed in Tourist office).
Pujols has been inhabited since prehistoric times, like most high places it was safer than the forests below. The earliest recorded inhabitants were a half-CELTIC, half-IBERIAN tribe called the NITIOBRIGES. But it was the Romans who made the first impact. From the fifth to the ninth century the area was swept by a succession of invaders from Vandals, Visigoths, Saracens and Normans. By the end of the twelfth century Pujols was one of the most important strongholds in the AGEN area.
In 1208 after the Cathars were defeated, the inhabitants having survived the war intact, paid the price of peace. They were left to wonder desolate and homeless after the treaty of Paris of 1229.
The Count of Toulouse " Alphonse de Potiers took pity on them and ordered the construction of a new town at the foot of the old one. Using the materials from the old dismantled town - VILLENEUVE sur LOT was Born.(see previous blog).
Sometime in the fourteenth century a large castle was built on the Eastern side to protect the village, but sadly little remains of it today (see photo). It was destroyed not by war but by an act of municipal vandalism when in 1850 the local council sold off the stones to an entrepreneur des demolitions for a sum of 1800 French francs. They later helped to build the local prison which now stands in Eysses at the other side of the river, just a few kilometres away.
Pujols then steadily declined over the next two centuries. Freda White in her book Three Rivers of France (1952) speaks of Pujols as a virtual ghost town....“so old, so dying of age, that one is surprised at the sight of a single child drawing water from the well in the tiny square”. Incidently, the well that Freda speaks about in her book was actually cut in half in the early part of the 21st century in order to let modern cars pass along the narrow street (see photo). In the last twenty years or so Pujols has undergone yet another reconstruction. Most of what was crumbling away with age has been either carefully restored to its original state or sensitively adapted for commercial use as restaurants, or antique shops. Definately worth a visit!