Uzerche is a small town in the Corrèze department, the region of the Limousin, France. In the late 1700’s the town was dubbed « The Pearl of the Limousin » .
The history dates back to the Gauls around the 2nd century B.C. The Romans conquered the site in 51 B.C.
Uzerche was part of an important trade route both traveling between North & South and East & West and as a point to cross the Vézère River.
Beginning around the 5th century A.D. it became an important political and religious center. After destruction by the Visigoths in the 6th century Uzerche was rebuilt with a fortified wall in the 7th century. Porte Bécharie may date back as part of that wall.
In the 8th century the city was besieged by Saracens for several years. The Uzerchois, citizens of Uzerche, were nearly starved out when they came up with a plan. They took their remaining food and fed their last two bulls. Then they let them « escape » into the enemy camp. The Saracens thought, since the bulls were so well nourished, that the Uzerchois must have almost unlimited supplies and gave up the siege. The symbol of the bulls can be found various places around town.
A monastery was founded there in the 10th century. The church of Saint-Pierre was completed during the 12th century. The 11th century crypt is the oldest in the region.
The 11th -13th centuries were a prosperous time for the town. Several Kings made visits, indicating the political importance that had been gained.
The city was struck hard by the bubonic plague in the mid 1300s. A remedy made of walnuts was used to fight the plague. Some residents in the old town still hang symbolic walnut branches on their doors on the day of Saint John.
During the 15th century many nobles settled in Uzerche building grand houses and chateaux.
Religious wars caused the decline of prosperity in Uzerche. The Abbey (monastery) was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1557.
Pont Turgot, straddling the Vézère, was built in 1753; the bridge connects the neighborhood Sainte-Eulalie with the old town of Uzerche. The neighborhood was later added to the city in 1826.
This is the bridge I cross daily (for now) to get from Hotel Ambroise to ma maison.