The Poitou region is located where the dialects of the north (la Langue d’Oil or Old French) meet those of the south (la Langue d’Oc or Occitan). During the 12th century, Occitan Poitou (the southern part of the region) saw its boundaries...
The Poitou region is located where the dialects of the north (la Langue d’Oil or Old French) meet those of the south (la Langue d’Oc or Occitan). During the 12th century, Occitan Poitou (the southern part of the region) saw its boundaries shrinking until, by the 14th century, the line drawn was between Charroux and Le Dorat via Millac. The communes in the south of the Montmorillon area could still be regarded as Occitan.
From the 11th century, the Occitan language flourished throughout Europe owing to the troubadours. It has been continuously spoken by a whole section of the population, despite being subjected to violent attacks by both the monarchy and the Republic.
The various Occitan dialects (Limousin, Gascon, Provençal, Auvergnat and Languedocien) all have their origins in a language with its own vocabulary and its own rules as regards spelling, grammar, conjugation and syntax. This meant that people could understand each other, whether they came from Provence, the Landes or the Limousin.
Along this route, even though the communes are located within the zone where Occitan was spoken, there is evidence of both influences. The place names bear witness to the transitional nature of this area: names that end in “-ac” or “-at” (Millac, Pressac, Brousseac, Chardat, etc.) and names that begin with “chez” (Chez Bouchet, Chez Nadot, etc.), in particular, are Occitan legacies. Names that end in “-ière” (La Bussière, Les Courtaudières, La Ribière, Les Beaupinières, etc.) tend to derive instead from Old French.
This circuit is one of 18 circuits known collectively as "Chemin d'Oc et d'Oïl", located in the Availles-Limouzine, Millac and Pressac area.