Castles and ramparts

  • Olargues is torn between the South of France and the Massif Central, but that’s no problem because it’s got a little bit of both ! Chestnut and cherry trees rub shoulders with vines and olive trees and the sun tries to heat up the chilly waters of the River Jaur. At the foot of the Caroux Mountains, the old fortified village attracts visitors not only because of its paved streets and covered passageways but also because it is ideally located for outdoor activities.


    • By the waterside : River Jaur
    • Castles and ramparts : Remains of the ramparts, keep of the old castle which is now the church tower
    • Panoramas : Panoramic view from the church tower
    • Wine : AOC wines from Berlou and Roquebrun (Saint-Chinian)

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    • Pérouges vue aérienne

    36 kilometres north-east of Lyon, at the top of a hill overlooking the Rhône plain, this former weavers’ settlement has kept evidence of its medieval past within its double enclosure of walls : old 15C and 16C houses, unevenly paved streets, and the fortress church to name but a few. Contemporary lighting enhances the exceptional architectural unity.


    • Castles and ramparts : Walls and fortified gates
    • Gastronomy : Sugared puff pastry cake
    • Unusual sights : Place aux Tilleuls square
    • Panoramas : View of the Rhône plain and the River Ain

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  • Pesmes used to be a strategic site on the way from Gray to Dole and has had a turbulent history because of the various occupations it underwent before it became French in 1678. Despite that fact, the village has preserved a wealth of heritage : remains of the castle, church of Saint Hilaire dating back to the 13C and 14C and gates. Along the delightful River Ognon, the 16C and 17C dwellings that used to belong to leading citizens and the wine growers’ houses are reminders of the village’s wine producing past.


    • By the waterside : Au fil de l'eau L’Ognon (rivière)
    • Castles and ramparts : Castles and ramparts of Pesmes
    • Unusual sights : The ancient forge

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  • This old fortified village overlooks the Upper Allier valley and is on the Régordane Way that linked Auvergne to the Languedoc. It used to be an important stopping place for merchants importing goods from the South of France and for pilgrims on their way to Compostela via Le Puy en Velay. The imposing houses with their stone walls and arcades whose tall facades stand firm against the gusting Cévennes winds bear witness to those prosperous times.


    • Castles and ramparts : Tour de Rochely tower and 2 fortified gates
    • Gastronomy : Salt meats
    • Panoramas : View of the Upper Allier valley

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  • The fortified village of Puycelsi watches over Grésigne Forest from the top of a rocky plateau overlooking the Vère valley. 14C and 15C houses made of stone, wood and brick are revealed behind more than 800 m of ramparts and the rampart walk offers wonderful views of the surrounding scenery.


    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts, double entry gate of l’Irissou
    • Unusual sights : Conservation orchard for old fruit species
    • Panoramas : View of Grésigne Forest, the Vère valley and the Quercy causses (limestone plateau) from the rampart walk
    • Wine : AOC Gaillac wines

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  • This village is one of Alsace’s gems and its excellent wines match the excellence of its architecture. A stroll around the village is a delight and the flower-decked balconies, sculpted windows and old paved courtyards are everywhere to be seen. Houses dating from the 15C to 18C, castle of the Dukes of Wurtemberg, squares and fountains : everything is wonderful !


    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts ; castle of the Dukes of Wurtemberg -Montbéliard
    • Wine : AOC wines from Alsace and Schoenenbourg and Sporen grands crus

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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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    • Rodemack Porte de Sierck de nuit _ J.C. KANNY

    Rodemack is in the Pays des "Trois Frontières" or Land of the Three Frontiers, on the borders of France, Germany (which it is only 20 km away from) and Luxembourg (6 km) and it is steeped in these three cultures. The village is nicknamed "Petite Carcassonne Lorraine" and is still surrounded by 700 m of ramparts dating from the 15C. Entrance is via the fortified gate of Sierck, which was built by the inhabitants themselves in the 14C.


    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts, fortified gate, towers, Maison des Baillis (Bailiffs’ House)
    • Unusual sights : Plus Beaux Villages de France wine market (every year in April)

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    • Saint-Benoît-du-Sault 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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