Abbeys and churches

  • Mirmande’s houses lie hidden behind the village walls and are intertwined in a maze of alleyways ; they still retain their beautiful stone facades and old doors. After the disappearance of silkworm farming in the late 19C, fruit growing ensured Mirmande’s growth and fame as did the celebrities who stayed here : the painter André Lhote lived here and French geologist Haroun Tazieff was the mayor from 1979 to 1989.


    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Foy
    • Castles and ramparts : The ramparts
    • Gastronomy : Fruit juice, fruit and seasonal vegetables
    • Panoramas : View of the Rhône valley and the Vivarais Mountains from Sainte Foy

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    • Montrésor balade à pied

    50 kilometres southeast of Tours, Montrésor stands on the banks of the Indrois which reflects the remains of the double enclosure walls of this old fortress and its Renaissance castle. In the village, the houses with their white tufa walls or half-timbering mix with semi-cave dwellings.


    • By the waterside : The river Indrois
    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Jean Baptiste (15C)
    • Castles and ramparts : The remains of the double enclosure wall (11C), the Renaissance castle


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    • Parfondeval église et bâtisses

    Parfondeval is in Picardy and its impressive redbrick, grey slate-roofed houses are clustered around a carpet of greenery. The village is almost entirely geared to farming and its scenery includes apple orchards, pastureland and fields of maize – it’s just like being out in the countryside !


    • Abbeys and churches : The fortified church of Saint Médard built in the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV
    • Unusual sights : The pond in the middle of the village square

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    • Rochefort-en-Terre place du Puits

    35 kilometers east of Vannes, on a rocky hill surrounding the valley of Gueuzon, the little Breton town of Rochefort-en-Terre shows a high homogeneity despite the different architectural styles cohabiting : half-timbered houses, gothic monuments, Renaissance hotels, 19th Century’s architecture... Stone, which is everywhere, is here the thing in common between all these traces of History.


    • Abbeys and churches : Notre-Dame-de-la-Tronchaye's collegiate church (12th C)
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle

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  • Far from about 20 kilometres of Sarlat, close to Lascaux, Saint-Amand-de-Coly stands comfortably between two small wooded valleys. Its 12C abbey is considered as the most beautiful fortified church of Périgord and keeps a watchful eye on the typical houses made of Sarlat’s stones and “lauze” tiled roofs in a well-matched contrast of ochre and grey colours.


    • Abbeys and churches : The 12C abbey-church


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    • Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye escalier

    From about twenty kilometers from Romans-sur-Isère, in the heart of an undulating landscape, the abbey of Saint-Antoine watches over the village. Close to the imposing monument, considered as one of the most beautiful gothic heritage of the region, this medieval site shows different faces : the modest half-timbered houses of the suburb, the shopping quarter with its covered market, the small alleys leading to the top of the village and the rich residences with its mullioned windows...

    By Themes

    Abbeys and churches : The Saint-Antoine's Abbey Church

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    • Saint-Benoît-du-Sault rue Portail

    This old medieval settlement is situated at the crossroads of Berry and Limousin. It was built on a granite rock around a Benedictine priory and overlooks the river. Enjoy a charming stroll through its steep streets and discover its 15C and 16C houses, its church and priory along with the Portefeuille valley which visitors get a lovely view of from the village.


    • Abbeys and churches : Benedictine priory, 11C Romanesque church
    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts, fortified gate, rampart walk

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    • Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges cathédrale

    Bertrand, bishop of Comminges, had Sainte Marie Cathedral built on a rocky outcrop as if it were keeping watch on the Pyrenees. Although the village is famous because of this fabulous building, other treasures lay behind its walls and entrance gates such as the noble houses dating from the 16C to 18C.

    By themes:

    • Abbeys and churches: Sainte Marie Cathedral (11C and 14C) (Abbayes et églises)
    • Castles and ramparts: Ramparts, Majou, Cabirole and Hyrisson gates (Châteaux et remparts)

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  • 15 kilometres southwest of Alençon, Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei lies nestled in a loop of the River Sarthe that is spanned by a small stone bridge. Its old houses are clustered around the 11C Romanesque church that boasts outstanding frescoes. On the other side of the river, opposite a delightful 15C chapel, a miracle spring, which arose following a prayer made by Saint Céneri, is said to have the power to cure certain eye diseases.


    • By the waterside : The river Sarthe
    • Abbeys and churches : 11C Romanesque church of Saint Céneri and the 15C chapel

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    • Saint-Côme-d'Olt linteau sculpté

    In the Aveyron département but on the banks of the Lot, Saint-Côme-d’Olt was built behind the ditches of the old fortified town. The flamboyant gothic style church with its crooked spire, the Penitents’ Chapel and the Manor of the Sires of Calmont dating from the 12C stand alongside the old medieval stalls and the fine 15C and 16C houses to make a delightful combination.


    • By the waterside : The river Lot
    • Abbeys and churches : 12C Penitents’ Chapel, Saint-Côme-et-Saint-Damien’s Church
    • Castles and ramparts : Fortified gates, ditches

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