The town of Ségur-le-Château is located in the north-west of Corrèze, on the border between Dordogne and Haute-Vienne, on the river Auvézère. This river, which used to be known as the « Haute-Vézère », runs here in the narrow, winding and steep-sided valley, lined with a 350m high plateau. Ségur is nested in a meander, safe from invasions and attacks.
The meander encircles a steep rocky headland. This strategic location, protected by both the river and the steep slope, makes it an ideal spot for a castle. The name « Ségur » comes from the Latin word « securium » which means « safe place ».
Thus, during the Middle Ages, one of the Viscounts of Limoges’s main fortresses was built here. It developed considerably between the 15th and the 18th centuries, and an appeal court was set up there.
Let’s go back in time to see how it all began. During the reign of Charlemagne, Limousin was a vast county. Its administrative headquarters were in Limoges. However, during the 9th century, the territory was coveted by neighbouring counts, established in Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand and Poitiers. In the absence of a resident count, Limousin was progressively monopolized by viscounts who divided it into pieces, which were subject to their authority.
Each of these viscounts settled down in areas that were easily defendable, preferably high above ground level, to dominate neighbouring lands, to keep an eye out for possible assailants, and to show the extent of their power. Thus, Ségur was chosen for its natural defensive assets and became the headquarters of a Viscouncy.
On the riverside
- -1. Ségur, a safe location
Ségur, a safe location
The town’s geographic location, on a meandering river, beneath an overhanging rocky spur, made it an ideal area to set up a fortified medieval village, which became the headquarters of a viscountcy. This video sets the town’s geographical and historical scene.