Important nobles built as many as 700 new fortified towns called bastides in Languedoc, Gascony, and Aquitaine in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Town planners laid out the towns in grid patterns as seen in the photograph above. These fortified towns became important economic centers stimulating trade and giving tax benefits to their founders. The rural population in the area moved to the towns for safety, freedom, and the economic advantages of living in a town.
The best preserved of these medieval towns is Monpazier, pictured below, where the medieval metal bins for measuring grain still survive. Around the market square, medieval vaulted archways can still be seen.
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