Our itinerary on the resistance

Before offering you a detailed reading of our page on the resistance in the Vézère valley during the Second World War, we offer you a route dedicated to resistance, which can be made of discoveries, initiation or memory. 

We offer you a visit to 3 special places, marked by the German army, also synonymous with resistance and determination. This memory journey can be done by car, But also by bike through 17km of pretty country roads. 

Rouffignac Saint-Cernin


Rouffignac, traumatized and partially destroyed village.

A place of memory retracing one of the most significant episodes of the Second World War.

Why does the village of Rouffignac have such a non-Perigordian architecture?

“We rebuild houses, we don’t rebuild people”

March 31th, 1944, the town of Rouffignac disappeared in the fire caused by the Nazis, during a week of German repression in Périgord.

 The various Resistance movements were well established in Périgord but the incessant attacks of the resistance ignited the powder on the German side. The division commanded by General Brehmer will stay a week in Dordogne, sowing terror and desolation everywhere. The German soldiers methodically crisscrossed the entire countryside in search of resistance fighters and Jews and when they did not find any, they attacked the population. 

The martyrdom of Rouffignac

From 8:30 a.m., the Germans surrounded the village, blocked the roads and had automatic weapons everywhere. Two officers asked for the location of the maquis but as no response was given to them, the order was then given to all the inhabitants of the village. country to meet in the square. It is impossible to escape because a cordon of soldiers surrounds the place. An officer talks with the Mayor:

 " What do you prefer ? Should I shoot the men or burn your entire village?

The Mayor responds:

“We rebuild houses, we don’t rebuild people”

All afternoon it was a sad move in a climate of anxiety. Then the soldiers pillaged the village, flamethrowers came into action and the houses burned like sheaves of straw. 

The end of the nightmare?

 The population of Rouffignac has gone through hours of terror; the human and material losses were extremely heavy but on April 2, there was a new appearance of the Germans who were still looking for "terrorists" and who again set fire to 20 houses in the lower and upper towns (including the Château de la Falquette): Rouffignac did not no longer existed, only the church and 3 houses were spared.

Photos, pages of moving text as well as an educational model guide you through this dark period in the history of Rouffignac in the Memory Space. This “museum” tells in detail what the men and women of this village in Périgord Noir experienced in 1944.


Best known for being the original village of Jacquou the Crunch, Fanlac is also a mecca of resistance as well as the theater of Nazi horror. Fanlac hosted the FTPF Interregion Executive School (or called “School of Resistance”). As you walk through the village, you will see a stele still in bloom in memory of the Aubarbier couple, murdered by the German army for their dedication to the resistance.


Le Sablou

Un memorial monument traces the history of the Sablou internment camp and its “Sablousards”, these French people deemed undesirable by the German enemy. It is located between the village of Fanlac and the Château du Sablou.

The Second World War hit the Dordogne department hard, which saw the Resistance settle into the countryside very early on.

Few homes in France were equipped with radios to hear General de Gaulle's call urging Resistance. To counter German propaganda, it was necessary to first wage a battle of opinions and distribute leaflets and clandestine newspapers to the French from the 40s onwards. To galvanize the energy of the Périgourdins, networks were formed around old rifles and a radio set. These people were at risk whether they were fully engaged or providing ad hoc support. Peasants and railway workers acted as smugglers near the demarcation line for those who had to leave France.

To get an idea of ​​the life of a Perigord maquis, in the years 1943-44, it is necessary to follow “the Durestal maquis”, a path of memory which crosses a hiking loop whose departure is located at Journiac : "the Pechorel loop».

In this maquis, stayed (among others) André Malraux, for two days at the end of May 1944. He was impressed by the number of resistance fighters present, to the point of evoking “a sort of town in the woods”. Log hut, dormitory, kitchen...and even graves dug for the traitors who were shot.

The importance of the Resistance in Périgord remains very present in the memory of its inhabitants.

The Dordogne was ¾ in the free zone. Only the west of the department was occupied by the Germans. However, traces of this past are visible in the Périgord Green, White, Purple and Black.

At the time of the landing, the Périgourdin fighters slowed down the rise of the armored division by 43 actions carried out against the Vichy government which considered these resistance fighters as terrorists. In the Thiviers sector, the threshing strike (refusal to feed the occupier) and sabotage targeting the railway infrastructure and machines hampered the occupier's activity. For fear of reprisals, large-scale actions were prohibited.

 Why are so many towns in Dordogne twinned with Alsace?

Before 1939, there were very few Jews in Périgord but Vichy's anti-Semitic policy encouraged Alsatians to take refuge in Dordogne. They were divided into 186 communes including Sarlat, Nontron, Terrasson, Les Eyzies, Bergerac, Ribérac and Thiviers, but the majority of the Jewish community was in Périgueux. The passage of Brehmer's division in Dordogne attempted to suppress the Resistance and terrorize the population while searching for, executing and deporting Jews. This was the “final solution”. In memory, 13 towns and villages of Dordogne, including Plazac, Le Bugue or Rouffignac, created a twinning with municipalities in Alsace, this department in eastern France. Families continue to build bonds generation after generation…

It was necessary to “put down the little maquis”

Communes suffered reprisals: Mouleydier near Bergerac was burned by the Germans in 1944 after a fierce fight, in Sainte-Marie de Chignac, 25 hostages were executed, 40 in Brantôme. In Mussidan, thirty-five hostages were arrested by the Germans for resistance. They will be deported to German labor camps...  

Traces of the Second World War in Dordogne

The Château du Sablou in Fanlac served as an internment camp for communist activists from January to December 1940. 50 years later, a stele in memory of these internees was erected in the Fanlac valley, near the Thonac stream. 

Périgueux is perhaps one of the cities in France where the memory of the Second World War is most felt. The National Association of Veterans and Friends of the Resistance (Anacr) organizes guided tours on the history of the city at this time, called “paths of Memory”.

The Resistance memorial of Saint-Etienne de Puycorbier in the Double forest is associated with André Voulgre museum. This place of memory retraces the fights of the resistance fighters in the Isle valley during the Second World War through an educational tour, films and an exhibition of materials left over from this period.

Numerous works relate this period in French history which impacted the Périgord Noir. Through the pages of the book The Dordogne in the Second World War, they are not an author but historical authors who tell the daily life of the country's peasants facing the Vichy army. The author Pierre Louty tells in detail and precision the commitment of young people, particularly in this Resistance. 

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