Abbeys and churches

    On the borders of Charente and Périgord, Aubeterre clings its entangled roofs and castle to a grassy cliff on the banks of the Dronne. The monolithic or rock-hewn underground Church of Saint Jean, the Collegiate Church of Saint Jacques and chapels and convents are evidence of the village’s significant religious past and pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela used to stop here.

    Themes

      • Abbeys and churches : Underground Church of Saint Jean, Collegiate Church of Saint Jacques, Poor Clare, Franciscan and Minim convents
      • By the waterside :
      • Castles and ramparts : The castle

      River Dronne

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    • Baume-les-Messieurs abbaye

    Nestled in a cirque formed where three valleys meet and boasting an exceptional view, Baume-les-Messieurs has clustered its houses around a Benedictine abbey, which is a magnificent example of Romanesque art of the Jura and houses one of the greatest polychrome altarpieces in Europe.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The imperial abbey
    • Wine : Côtes du Jura wines

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    • Camon fête des roses

    Camon sprang up as a result of a 10C abbey, later to become a fortified priory, being built in the hollow of a small valley in Ariège, where the River Hers makes a loop. Today, visitors enter into the village through the old arched door of the church and discover the signs of Camon’s religious past and its red curved roof tile houses.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The abbey and church
    • Castles and ramparts : The fortifications

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    • Candes-Saint-Martin façade Renaissance

    A former fishing and inland water transport port that sprang up where the Rivers Vienne and Loire meet, Candes-Saint-Martin displays great contrast with its black slate roofs and its white tufa walls that adorn the houses and the Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Martin
    • By the waterside : The Rivers Vienne and Loire
    • Wine : AOC Touraine wines

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    • Carennac mise au tombeau

    On the banks of the Dordogne, Renaissance houses with sculpted windows and brown roofs are clustered around an 11C Cluniac priory where French writer and prelate Fénelon once lived. Near the Romanesque church and its cloister, the Château des Doyens invites you to discover the treasures of this Pays d’Art et d’Histoire-labelled region to which Carennac belongs.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The church, cloister and the sculpture depicting Christ’s entombment
    • By the waterside : The river Dordogne
    • Castles and ramparts : The "Château des Doyens"

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    • Conques toits dans la verdure

    A small village that is labelled a Grand Site de France. In the heart of the Lot Valley, this key stopping place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela conceals a wealth of treasures : half-timbered houses, the 11C and 12C abbey church of Sainte Foy, its 250 capitals, its contemporary stained-glass windows by Pierre Soulages and its tympanum with 124 sculpted figures depicting the Last Judgement, but also THE treasure, that of Sainte Foy, a golden statue covered in gold and precious stones.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Sainte Foy Abbey Church

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    • Gargilesse fresques église

    In the leafy valley of the River Creuse, this Berry village that George Sand was so fond of has played host to many painters all of whom were charmed by the romantic sight of its steeply-roofed houses, clustered harmoniously around the Romanesque church and the castle. Gargilesse still enjoys a wealth of cultural events today that take place in a welcoming, easygoing atmosphere.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Creuse
    • Abbeys and churches : 11C Byzantine and Romanesque church
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Unusual sights : George Sand’s house

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    There is a definite hint of Picardy and Normandy in Gerberoy whose houses are half-timbered or brick and flint and form a charming mix that attracted the post-impressionist painter Henri le Sidaner. The village owes some of its charms to him : the wonderful Italian gardens and the Rose Festival which has been organised every year since 1928 with unfailing popularity.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Pierre

     

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    • Gordes château

    The houses of Gordes cling to the side of the Vaucluse plateau, overlooking Cavaillon plain. They are arranged in tiers around the imposing Renaissance castle and church and narrow cobbled streets wind their way through them. Gordes is a village of artists and has been extolled by Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara ; it is a must on Provence’s cultural trail.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Sénanque Abbey
    • Castles and ramparts : The Renaissance castle
    • Panoramas : Views of the village from the road, view of Apt Valley and Cavaillon plain from the top of the village
    • Unusual sights : The village of Les Bories (dry-stone huts)
    • Wine : AOC Côtes du Ventoux wines

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    • La Garde-Adhémar jardin

    Some twenty kilometres south of Montélimar, the white stones of La Garde-Adhémar dazzle in the Drôme Provençale sunshine. From the top of its chalky outcrop, the village, which has kept ramparts, traces of the castle and old houses from its medieval structure, offers an unobstructed view of the Rhône Valley and the Vivarais Mountains.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Michel, White Penitents’ Chapel, Notre Dame Chapel (Val des Nymphes site)
    • Castles and ramparts : The ramparts and feudal castle
    • Panoramas : View of the Rhône Valley and the Vivarais Mountains
    • Unusual sights : Val des Nymphes site (worship of water gods and mother goddesses)

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