La Roque Saint-Christophe en Dordogne » Site presentation » Our history

Since the 19th century, the name of La Roque Saint-Christophe has been inseparable from that of the Touron family… A veritable dynasty in Périgord Noir, who are preparing to entrust the destiny of the “old rock ” to their 4ᵉ generation.

While the cliff’s human history began 55,000 years ago, its development and role on the heritage mediation scene dates back to 1938. That year, the site, which had belonged to the Touron family for the previous century, became Gabriel’s property.

Initially interested in the prehistoric excavations at the foot of the rock, he discovers its secrets during a walk in the woods.

A troglodyte treasure

Gabriel Touron ventured onto a narrow strip of rock and, through the dense vegetation, spotted a number of features, including a 32-step monolithic staircase… He had just brought back the cliff’s troglodytic history!

The city was well known to the valley’s inhabitants, but the fortress part had never been explored. Gabriel then embarked on a titanic task to clear part of the walls. He even set up a small ” second homein situ, where family members could spend busy weekends together… Although La Roque received its first visitors before the Second World War, it was only after the war, in 1952, that the cliff really took off as a tourist attraction.

Tourist enhancement

But the public can only visit a very restricted area of the city and the fort… It wasn’t until Gabriel’s son Jean-Max arrived that the cliff revealed the mysteries of its medieval configuration.

A specialist in acrobatic work, he continued his father’s work. He removes the vegetation, which still detracts greatly from the architectural coherence of the whole, it purges at-risk areas, protects lower archaeological levels and provides all the safety and comfort facilities for the public, after the 1970s saw an explosion in visitor numbers.

At the same time, he expanded the family estate with the acquisition, development and operation of new sites, including, in the immediate vicinity of La Roque Saint-Christophe, the Maison Forte de Reignac and the Donjon et Manoir de la Salle, in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère.

Touron family 2023

A feminine 3ᵉ millennium

Having spent several years working in all the company’s positions, so as to know its workings inside out, Marie-Luce Touron – Jean-Max’s daughter and Gabriel’s granddaughter – took over management of La Roque in 2000.

The story of the cliff, or the ” old rock ” as she affectionately calls it, continues in the feminine. Marie-Luce is orchestrating the construction of a new reception building, setting up new ways of visiting, events, digitalized communication… and is committed to preserving the rock ecosystem.

20 years later… A 4ᵉ generation (three live side by side on the cliffside) is preparing to take up the torch. Marie-Alexia and Marie-Sophie – daughters of Marie-Luce, granddaughters of Jean-Max and great-granddaughters of Gabriel – have decided to follow in the family professional traditions. The first at the surrounding sites and the youngest at La Roque. They will soon be overseeing the destiny of these priceless heritages of humanity… And raising a 5ᵉ generation in the making!

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