La Roque Saint-Christophe en Dordogne » Site presentation

Discover the ancient city and fortress of La Roque Saint-Christophe

La Roque Saint-Christophe is considered a world reference in troglodyte architecture. These natural caves have been occupied by man since prehistoric times (55,000 years ago), and weredeveloped over five floors from the Middle Ages to the early Renaissance. They form a unique and priceless ensemble, a troglodyte fort and city open to all!

A visit to La Roque Saint-Christophe provides an insight into the way of life and organization of this cliff-dwelling people, also known as “troglodytes”. Here, you’ll discover the traces left by our ancestors, as well as a conservatory of civil engineering machines, recreated in homage to the great medieval builders.

The history of the ancient city and fortress

The written history of La Roque Saint-Christophe begins in 976. Frotaire, bishop of Périgueux, ordered the construction of a network of forts, intended to create a watchtower to defend traditional access routes from looters.

Thanks to its strategic position, the site has become one of the locks of the Vézère Valley. Later, the cliff played a major role in the Hundred Years’ War as a French stronghold. It was dismantled in 1588 during the Wars of Religion, having become a Protestant refuge.

Meet the cliff people

We are all children of the People of the Cliffs: rock shelters were already protecting our distant nomadic ancestors in prehistoric times. Perpetually on the move, they found refuge from the bad weather. During the Middle Ages, thanks to improved tools, the inhabitants conquered the entire rock face and its five terraces to protect themselves from potential attackers.

Before the year 1000, at a time when fortified castles didn’t yet exist, here, they’re already in stone! Coming to La Roque Saint-Christophe is like stepping back in time!