Abbeys and churches

  • The landscape surrounding Lagrasse is one of vineyards and hills and is typical of the Corbières wine-growing region. The River Orbieu runs through the village and is spanned by a bridge linking Lagrasse and its old 14C market to its abbey, an architectural jewel from medieval times. Lagrasse is not only known for its Corbières wine, but also for its know-how that local craftsmen will be delighted to introduce you to

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Sainte Marie Abbey
    • By the waterside : The river Orbieu
    • Wine : AOC Corbières wines

    read more
    • Larressingle entrée du village

    The walls of Larressingle rise up amid the vineyards in Armagnac country, just a short distance from Condom. The ochre and grey stone houses still with their mullioned windows and arched doorways are clustered around the castle keep and its twin-nave church. This is an ideal spot to appreciate not only the charm but also the food of the Gers.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Sigismond
    • By the waterside : The river Baïse
    • Gastronomy : Armagnac, floc, foie gras, etc.

    read more
  • This village is the birthplace of painter Toulouse-Lautrec’s family and is also famous for its pink garlic of which it is the main French producer. Of the ramparts, only the Caussade gateway remains intact and this leads to the central square where visitors can still admire 14C timber framed and corbel houses. The pale blue of Saint Rémy’s Collegiate Church is a reminder that you are in "Pays de Cocagne" here

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Rémy
    • Castles and ramparts : Caussade gateway, ramparts
    • Panoramas : View of the Lacaune Mountains, the Black Mountains and Castres plain from the Calvary

    read more
  • A gothic bridge spans the Loir to get to this village that lies nestled at the foot of a fortified castle that withstood an attack by Richard the Lion Heart but was taken by Henri IV’s troops. Today, visitors can admire what is left of the walls and towers and the 26-metre-high keep. There is a mix of architectural styles and periods in the village, from cave dwellings to gothic and Renaissance houses.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Genest
    • By the waterside : River Loir
    • Castles and ramparts : Fortified castle
    • Wine : Coteaux du Vendômois wines

    read more
  • The village gets its name from the Benedictine abbey established here in the Middle Ages and which turned the Senouire valley into “la vallée de Dieu” (valley of God). The abbey is one of the jewels of Auvergne’s religious heritage what with its Romanesque cloister and the Byzantine-inspired mural adorning its refectory. The village is just like it with its creamy-stone, round-tiled winegrowers’ houses

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The Benedictine abbey
    • By the waterside : The River Senouire

    read more
    • Bec-Hellouin (Le) artisanat monastique

    Situated between Rouen and Lisieux, in a verdant setting made up of fields criss-crossed by hedges and apple trees, Le Bec-Hellouin is a typical Normandy village with timber-frame houses and flower-decked balconies. It gets its name from the stream that runs alongside it and from the founder of its famous abbey, which along with the Benedictine monastery bears witness to the great religious activity alive in the site.

    Themes

    read more
  • Limeuil is situated where the Rivers Dordogne and Vézère meet. It lived through the horrors of Viking invasions and the Hundred Years’ War but today only three fortified gates are left to bear witness to those times. A bustling river port of old, the medieval village with its stone-built, dark-tiled houses so typical of Périgord Noir is now a charming, refreshing place in which to stop.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Catherine
    • By the waterside : Rivers Dordogne and Vézère
    • Panoramas : View of the Dordogne and Vézère valleys
    • Wine : Pays du Périgord wines

    read more
  • Locronan gets its name from Saint Ronan, the hermit who founded the town in the 10C. It reached its peak in the 16C thanks to the sailcloth industry, with one of the biggest customers being the East India Company. The granite village has been wonderfully preserved and still has very fine Renaissance houses and a magnificent 15C church.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Ronan, Pénity and Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle Chapels
    • Gastronomy : Kouign-amann (puff pastry gateau made with butter and sugar), savoury pancakes
    • Panoramas : sight from Locronan's Mountain (Plas Ar Horn)

    read more
  • 40 kilometres east of Rouen, in one of Europe’s finest beech groves, the aptly named Lyons-la-Forêt (the Forest) stretches out its facades decked with half-timbering, colourful daub and bricks along the River Lieure. Shops busily ply their trade around the 18C covered market where other jewels of local architecture such as the Vieux Logis or former bailiwick that has since become the town hall can also be seen.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Denis
    • Unusual sights : 18C covered market

    read more
    • Ménerbes cadran solaire

    From the top of a rocky spur overlooking the Luberon garrigue and vineyards, the fortified village of Ménerbes and its castle watch over the neighbouring Most Beautiful Villages of Gordes and Roussillon. Inside, the narrow streets reveal a wealth of heritage : old houses, the town hall square with its 17C belfry and bell tower. Like many villages in the Luberon, Ménerbes has attracted several famous artists such as Picasso who used to have a house there.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Saint-Hilaire abbey
    • Castles and ramparts : The citadel and castle
    • Unusual sights : Corkscrew Museum and Truffle and Wine Centre
    • Panoramas : View of Coulon valley and the villages of Gordes and Roussillon from the deserted cemetery
    • Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines

    read more