Les caractéristiques des bastides :
- having a charter giving the terms under which the bastide was founded.
- built on a hilltop, a plateau or a rocky spur
- fortified perimeter, often with the church either included or nearby, to serve as a keep and observation post
- rectangular grid layout
- carreyous: narrow alleys for access to backs of houses and their gardens
- andrones: narrow separating gap between houses to limit the spread of fire and enable rain and waste water disposal.
- a market square, often with a covered section: les halles
- cornières: covered arcades built out of the ground floor of the houses surrounding the market square.
Most bastides have been rebuilt and built over during the centuries. There are very few that still have most of these characteristics.
Monflanquin (47 Lot-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees) is one of the best preserved – although it is a living village not a museum or tourist attraction. And it does have its market day (Thursdays) and during the summer months there is also an evening market (marche nocturne) in the Place des Arcades.
Also in Monflanquin is the Musee des Bastides, an interesting little museum explaining the development and philosophy of the bastides – visit the museum and then see the real thing!
Monflanquin is recognised as one of the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" (most beautiful French villages)
See also Montpazier