Village-étape, Bellac is a commune of New-Aquitaine which takes place in the department of Haute-Vienne. Also labeled Station verte de vacances, tourist resort and city of character, it is located in the north of Limousin, forty-five kilometers from Limoges and about seventy kilometers from Poitiers.
The city was formed as early as the 10th century around a castle built on a rocky outcrop and now disappeared. An important commercial city throughout the Middle Ages, it was attached to the crown of France as early as the first half of the 16th century. Sub-prefecture of the department, Bellac is today mainly a tourist town appreciated for its architectural heritage and its numerous cultural festivities.
Verte, the city is also full of parks and other natural sites that bring a particular charm to this harmonious and welcoming.
Bellac is a city strong in architectural monuments of exception, testifying to the richness of the city over the course of history.
Classified in the inventory of Historical Monuments, the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bellac was built between the XIIth and the XIVth century. Originally, the religious edifice served as a chapel to the Counts of the Marche, local lords. Enlarged between the 14th and 15th centuries, the church reveals a beautiful mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Inside, you can admire the baptistery supported by three lions, as well as beautiful twisted columns. A shrine of the XIIth century, oldest reliquary of all the Limousin, also takes place there. It was made by the enamel workshops of Limoges. On the esplanade, in front of the building, you will appreciate the baptismal vat of the 7th century, classified to Historic Monuments. Nicknamed the Pille, it presents an asymmetrical plan as well as vestiges of an oblique size.
The Chapel of the Penitents, formerly Chapelle Saint-Jean-Baptiste, dates from the beginning of the XVIIIth century. It was previously the seat of the prayers of the Sisters of the Cross who have disappeared from the commune of Bellac.
Walking in the commune of Bellac, you can admire the town hall which takes place in the old castle of Barthon de Montbas and which dates from the XVIIth century. The sub-prefecture also deserves a stop. It is housed in a former mansion of the 18th century.
Remains of the town's ramparts can be admired in certain places, such as Consul Génébrias' tower, for example, dating back to the 16th century, or old medieval entrances to the town, such as the Porte Trilloux and the Porte de la Prade. In the old center of Bellac, houses of the fifteenth and eighteenth century still stand proudly, including the timber-framed buildings that surround the church on the site of the old castle. Here, mazes of alleys plunge you into another era.
The town of Bellac also has an old stone bridge of the thirteenth century, as well as a drier of 15th century skins. Tanneries were indeed present on the territory from the thirteenth century, becoming one of the main economic activities of the municipality.
Verte, Bellac is also full of natural spaces, including parks such as Jolibois and its heartland. At the entrance of the town hall, the town hall park also offers a statue of Jean Giraudoux, the child of the country whose native house can still be admired. Marked hiking trails allow to discover the town and its surroundings, while the banks of the Vincou have been arranged for the entertainment of the inhabitants and the visitors. There are fishing grounds, picnic tables, games for children and a small basketball court.
The biggest weekly market is held on Saturday morning, two other markets take place on Wednesdays and Thursday mornings. Every first Thursday of the month the city offers its local fair, while Christmas markets are organized in December. The ovine breeding fair is held every two years, in odd years, in September, and summer markets are also set up in July and August.
Every year between the end of June and the beginning of July, the national festival of Bellac highlights the theater, cinema and music. Created in 1954, it pays tribute to the French author originating from the city, Jean Giraudoux.
A lamb festival takes place every year in June or July.
Sportive, the city organizes its own tennis tournament in July.
In September, the Nocturnes of Bellac offer original and guided city tours.