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A general view of Plazac
|Canton||Vallée de l'Homme|
|Intercommunality||Vallée de la Vézère|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Robert Delbary|
|33.77 km2 (13.04 sq mi)|
|• Density||21/km2 (56/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||82–289 m (269–948 ft) |
(avg. 100 m or 330 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
There are at least 20 nationalities represented among the villagers, and there is a lively social scene. A typical dinner will last for at least five hours and draw heavily on the products from the nearby Bordeaux wine region, as well as the local game, truffles, cepes (wild mushrooms) and foie gras. Plazacians, if there is such a word, believe that duck fat is the safest possible cooking oil, and is in fact very good for your cholesterol. Everyone seems to be living to a ripe old age, so it may well be true.
Plazac was put on the map, so to speak, by the Archbishop of Périgueux, who used it as a country retreat. Parts of the village, including the church, date back to the 12th century. It is rumored that there are tunnels beneath the village that were used during the many conflicts over the centuries. There is certainly a spring which feeds underground passages sending water to the church and its attached presbytery with the excess flowing beneath the streets to the nearby Vimont River.
Plazac is in the Périgord Noir, a region that saw tremendous amounts of fighting during the Hundred Years' War, which actually lasted much longer, between the French and the English. As a result, the hills are studded with castles and chateaus. The nearby Dordogne River formed the border between the English in Aquitaine (remember Eleanor of Aquitaine?) and the French, who were north of the river. Along the river there are many castles in pairs, one on the north, the other on the south bank. One of the most interesting is Castelnaud (English) and Beynac, which has been completely restored to its original state and is a must-see in the region.
During World War II, Plazac sheltered the residents of Bindernheim (in the Alsace region of France, which was the site of heavy fighting). The people of Bindernheim created a beautiful garden and fountain in Plazac as a way of saying "thank you." In the next village, Rouffignac, the Nazis, who were searching for members of French Resistance gave the mayor a choice: they would kill all the males in the village or burn the village to the ground. Consequently, most of Rouffignac dates from the late 1940s.
In addition to castles and chateaus, the area is honeycombed with caves. The most famous is Lascaux near Montignac (15 minutes from Plazac) where the famous cave paintings were discovered by some children. Another favorite is Les Grottes de Rouffignac, where a battery-powered railway takes visitors over a mile underground to see cave paintings including pictures of mammoths which were drawn from life. Also nearby is the troglodyte village of Les Eyzies and the beautifully preserved and vibrant medieval city of Sarlat.
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