Once part of the fiefdom of the viscounts of Turenne, Martel is an excellently preserved example of medieval architecture and is known as the 'Ville de Sept Tours' (town of seven towers). The Maison Fabri in the market square is where Henry Courtmantel, crowned King Henry III of England during his father Henry II Plantagenet's lifetime, died in 1183 after plundering the treasures of Rocamadour. His brother, Richard the Lionheart, became next in line to the throne following Henry's death.
The imposing Hotel de la Raymondie on one side of the market square was built around 1300. The mansion, which was a part of the former law courts, is now the mairie (town hall) of Martel and also houses the tourist office as well as a large room for exhibitions and events.
The highest of the seven towers, the bell tower of the imposing 13th century church of St Maur, is also a dominant feature of the skyline and a venue for many concerts, especially in summer.
The town of Martel sits at the heart of the causse of Martel, a rugged limestone upland, clad in small oak trees interspersed with cleared meadowland.
Location: On the D840 south of Brive, 15 minutes drive south from the new airport of Brive-Vallée de la Dordogne.