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Saint Pardoux la Rivière

Saint Pardoux la Rivière is a small town from the north Dordogne, also called Perigord Vert.
The town is deep in a bowl at the bottom of the last forested slopes of the Limousin plateau (Massif Central), hosting the Dronne which, from wild creek becomes a quiet river in a valley that spreads wider and richer.

Saint Pardoux la Rivière is a village located at the crossroads between the Limousin, the Périgord and the Bordelais, between Nontron and Thiviers.

It is a ford on the Dronne that pilgrims used to go to the Abbey of Brantome. A fortress has been begun long enough before the 13th century. In 1581, Saint Pardoux la Rivière became a barony. So, at the request of his daughter, Jeanne de Guyenne, prioress of the convent, King Charles the 7th granted in 1490 the right to hold a market on Thursday each week. 
There were seven watermills (one for oil) located on the Dronne. 
But the inhabitants could also be : carpenters, builders, joiners, marshals, steelworkers, Estill makers, clogmakers, weavers, stoneworkers, musketeers, coalworkers, road builders, as there were many ponds. 
The 12th century Roman town church, after several lootings, has been abandoned for over 30 years. It was restored in 1599 and dedicated to Saint Pardoux and later to St. Bruno. The first civil registered baptism date from 1599 and 1609 for marriages and deaths. 
A beautiful sundial has been added in 1854.
The people gathered around the fortress, Frankish citadel, where only a small part of the retaining walls of the plateau remains. Small bourgeois, merchants, surgeons or farmers were the people of this town.
Farmers also grew grain in the fertile lands of the valley. The culture of walnuttrees for the oil or the breeding of cattle could gave the small landowners some extra income. Woods spread around the village, used to belong to the convent.


The convent of Saint Pardoux la Rivière was built according to the wishes of the Viscountess Margaret of Burgundy said Margaret l'enragée (the mad), to redeem all its sins 
It has been purchased in 1292 and on May the 20th of 1293, Fine Aragon, first prioress, moved in with six Dominicans. in the next 500 years, forty two priors will live there.
During the french revolution, the monastery was abandoned by the nuns and sold to Sieur Planchas Lavalette, who rented it to the department as a women's prison.
At the end of this period, the last prisoners were released, and the buildings, abandoned, were looted by the villagers to build their houses. Part of the cloister has so been transferred in a house of the village in 1808. The monastery church has ben destroyed in 1830.

The old railway Thiviers-Saint-Pardoux,

Renamed ''La Voie Verte '' has been « deplanted » and paved to allow hikers and bikers a nice walk on this communication channel built in 1888.
[The 16 Km that separate the two cities can be cycled in 1H or walked in 3H. on the way, many art constructions can be seen : the bridge of Saint-Pardoux, bridges, gateways, railway stations and other gatekeepers houses.
Sometimes we might hear the whistle of the old steam trains.....
Truly a "green corridor" in the heart of the Périgord Vert, the 16 km long way that is proposed, follows the path of the old railway line, built from the late nineteenth century, offering a link to the villages of the northern Dordogne..
Saved from oblivion and fallow, on request of the General Council of the Dordogne, the arranged road gives the opportunity to each and everyone to sample the delights of walking in nature. This course allows all forms of walking : walking, cycling and horseriding.
It invites to explore the landscape but also the stone heritage. At the corner of shady hardwood forests, the wild valleys of the Cole and the Dronne appear nicely.
On the way, the watchfull eye will not fail to admire the botanical treasures that line the course, as many different admirable buildings. En route, don’t miss the visit of Saint-Jean-de-Côle, member of the franch association : « nicest villages of France ». in the neighbourhood, villages of Saint-Romain et Saint-Clément, Saint-Martin de Fressengeas, Milhac-de-Nontron will welcome you, as Thiviers and Saint-Pardoux-La-Rivière.
New ! in 2016: Enjoy the "Shuttle" Service from Château le Verdoyer : register at Reception, we take you to the starting point and of course pick you up  ...

The Night of the Spardos…

Birth and presentation of the SPARDOS night
In July 1997, the “Comité des Fêtes” and the municipality of Saint Pardoux have dared to put up the first night market in Northern Dordogne. This boldness was richly rewarded by the presence of 5,000 people.
The organizing team has invented the story, creating the legend of "the Spardos" : drink whose recipe is carefully guarded in old books.
It was originally intended for the baptism of "the Spardos" which takes place at the opening of the festival, around 7.30pm, and proclaim the quality of "the Spardos" before it is put on public sale.
This night takes place each last Saturday of July, and the entrance is free.
The légend of the Spardos also called « the night of the reflection »
Long long ago, on a beautifull july night, the hughe building of an old monastory in the still river water, like every year was reflecting.
Around this visual event that men sublimated during daylight hours, great feast was given.
Troubadours, minstrels and various merchants allowed all pilgrims to prostrate themselves, and have fun.
The Spardos drink gave all the necessary joy to women and children to return every year.
During the time of reflection, each and every Soul took advantage in receiving the effects, before going back, the story to everyone telling…
Until the day the reflection watcher by a beauty was distracted, and could not with his bell warn the company the magic moment was arrived.
Like a curse, the monks deserted the place, the doors forever shutting.
And since that day, every stone was unsealed : gorse, ivy and forests took law in their neighborhoods pushing the stones into the bed of the river, and far were swept away.

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