The Place de la Nation is an iconic square in Saint-Yrieix, as can be seen from the various functions it performed over the centuries.
A cemetery during the Gallo-Roman period, the square later became a key spot for salt trading on account of it being located between La Rochelle and Auvergne. In the Middle Ages and until the second half of the 20th century, after long focusing on trade, the square became a venue for the city’s big fairs and other livestock markets. Its commercial function can still be seen today thanks to the preserved storefronts.
The square is also the location of many private mansions, which are a sign of the neighbourhood’s urbanisation and gentrification in the 18th century. In 1749, a seneschal's court was built, which was another important milestone in the development of the city of Saint-Yrieix.