Abbeys and churches

    • Sauveterre-de-Rouergue vue arcades

    In the heart of the Ségala region, 35 kilometres southwest of Rodez, this old royal "bastide" has retained its original layout that dates back to 1281. Visitors can still admire lovely half-timbered or Renaissance-style houses on the main square that is surrounded by forty-seven arcades, where craftsmen and shopkeepers sell their wares. The richly furnished Collegiate Church of Saint Christophe, the gate that bears the same name and the gate of La Mérette date from the 14C when the site was fortified.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The 14C collegiate church of Saint-Christophe
    • Castles and ramparts : The gates of Saint-Christophe and La Mérette
    • Unusual sights : The square surrounded by 47 arcades

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    • Seillans atelier des Couronnes

    Seillans is just a few kilometres away from Fayence and has everything a typical Provencal village should have : houses arranged in tiers on the hillside, narrow paved streets, arched passageways, little squares where fountains babble, sunny weather and vistas of vineyards and olive groves. The spot appealed to the painter Max Ernst who spent the last years of his life here and whose work can be admired at the Tanning-Ernst Collection.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Chapel of Notre Dame de l’Ormeau, Church of SaintLéger (11C)
    • Castles and ramparts : Medieval castle, Sarrasine gate, tower, etc.
      • Gastronomy : Olive oil (celebration in November)
      • Unusual sights :
      • Wine : AOC Côtes de Provence wines

      Tanning-Ernst Collection (engravings)

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    • Semur-en-Brionnais vue église

    Situated in southern Burgundy, this former stronghold of Saint Hugues, founder of Cluny Abbey, is the historic capital of the Brionnais region. Heritage abounds in this pretty village as shown by the fortified castle and its square keep dating from the 9C, the superb Romanesque Church of Saint Hilaire with its tower displaying eight arches and columns and its carved gate or the old houses with their almost pinkish hue.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and chuches : Collegiate Church of Saint Hilaire (12C and 13C), Church of Saint Martin la Vallée (11C)
    • Castles and ramparts : Rampart walk
    • Panoramas : View of the Monts du Forez and de la Madeleine Mountains from the old rampart walk

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    • Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval cascade du Rouget

    This is a strange name for a village but it hasn’t stopped it from being labelled a Grand Site ! Although the Cirque du Fer à Cheval has made Sixt famous, it is not its only treasure. The Cascade du Rouget waterfall, nicknamed Queen of the Alps, and the nature reserve that covers most of the district add to the site’s exceptional character. The architectural heritage is not to be left out either as shown by the priory and church stemming from the former abbey founded by Ponce de Faucigny.

    Themes

      • Abbeys and churches : 13C church and priory
      • By the waterside : River Giffre

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  • 15 kilometres south of Royan, Talmont sits on a rocky peak overlooking the Gironde estuary ; it still has its original layout as a "bastide", built in 1284 by Edward I Duke of Aquitaine. Towering above the village, the magnificent church of Sainte Radegonde, symbol of the Poitou-Charentes region, is still protected by ramparts. In the village, whitewashed houses and blue shutters peep out behind hollyhocks

    Themes

      • Abbeys and churches : Romanesque Church of Sainte Radegonde (12C)
      • By the waterside :
      • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts
      • Panoramas : View of the estuary and the cliffs at Meschers-sur-Gironde from the cemetery

      Gironde estuary, Atlantic Ocean

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    • Vézelay vue colline

    Looking onto the Monts du Morvan, Sainte Madeleine Basilica stands at the top of a steep hill and watches majestically over the winegrowers’ houses and Renaissance dwellings. This masterpiece of Romanesque art was restored by architect Viollet-le-Duc in the 19C and has made Vézelay a Mecca for pilgrimages and a starting point on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Sainte Madeleine Basilica (12C and 19C)
    • Panoramas : View of the Cure valley and Monts du Morvan from the forecourt of the old castle
    • Wine : AOC Burgundy Vézelay wines

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    • Vouvant tour Mélusine

    Vouvant is girdled by a loop of the River Mère and stands behind a wonderfully well-preserved fortified wall. The origin of the village is linked to the legend of the Fairy Mélusine, an ancestor of the Counts of Lusignan, who is said to have given the village a castle overnight. The keep called "Mélusine Tower" is all that remains of that building and it watches over the whitewashed houses. The magnificent 11C Romanesque church is not to be missed.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Romanesque Church of Sainte Marie
    • By the waterside : The river Mère
    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts

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    • Yèvre-le-Châtel vue église

    Yèvre-le-Châtel is situated between Paris and Orléans and combines the power of its ramparts and 13C castle, which watches over the Romanesque Church of Saint Gault and the unfinished nave of Saint Lubin, with the charm of its flower-decked streets, its old limestone houses and the gardens that inspire international painters and performers.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Romanesque Church of Saint Gault (12C), remains of the Church of Saint Lubin (13C)
    • Castles and ramparts : The fortified castle (13C)
    • Panoramas : View of the Rimarde valley from the fortress

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