Castles and ramparts

    • Saint-Cirq-Lapopie toits et façades

    Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is perched on a cliff overlooking a meander of the Lot and is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Surveyed by the fortified church, the houses with their sloping, brown-tiled roofs are a harmonious sight lining the picturesque alleyways. This spot has attracted both artists and writers such as André Breton who used to take up residence in the village in summer.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Lot
    • Castles and ramparts : Saint-Cirq-Lapopie castle
    • Gastronomy : Foie gras
    • Panoramas : View of the Lot Valley and the Causse du Quercy limestone plateau
    • Wine : Quercy wines

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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.

    Themes

    • 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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    • Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port citadelle

    Nestling between the Basque hillsides and the Spanish border, on the right hand bank of the river Nive and situated at the foot of the mountain peaks of the « col de Roncevaux », Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port has a story to tell.  Discover its multi-layered history through its architecture which is typical of the Basque region: it is has always been an important stopping-off point on the pilgrimage route to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, it was an ancient stronghold of the Navarre Kingdom (824-1620) and still today remains an active crossroad for international commerce.

    By themes

    • Abbeys and churches: The Gothic Church "Notre-Dame"
    • By the Waterside: The River "Nive"
    • Castles and ramparts: The citadel ands its ramparts (17th-century)

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  • Halfway between Lascaux and Les Eyzies, this former flourishing port on the River Vézère is situated in countryside that is typical of the Périgord. The village is well guarded by its castles – the Manoir de la Salle at the entrance to the village, Château de Clérans above the river and Château de Chabans, jewel of the Côte de Jor – and is proud to host the Music Festival of the Périgord Noir in its beautiful 12C Romanesque church.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : 12C Romanesque church, the expiatory chapel
    • By the waterside : The river Vézère
    • Castles and ramparts : Manoir de la Salle (14C), Château de Clérans (16C), Château de Chabans (14C to 17C)

     

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    • Sainte-Eulalie-d'Olt vue d'ensemble

    Sainte-Eulalie is on the right bank of the River Lot and the village is laid out in a succession of arcs around the church square, a church which is a masterpiece of Romanesque and gothic art. In the narrow streets paved with stones from the Lot, the houses date from the 15C to 18C and are lovingly bedecked with flowers by their inhabitants. The mills along the River Serre are a particular feature of the village and bear witness to the former crafts of tanning and drapery which used to use the water for power.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : 11C and 12C church
    • By the waterside : Rivers Lot and Serre
    • Castles and ramparts : Les Curières de Castelnau castle (15C)

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  • Situated between Laval and Le Mans, Sainte-Suzanne is perched at a height of 70 meters above the Erve valley. Known for having braved William the Conqueror, the medieval town has kept a rich patrimony from this time. The origins of Sainte-Suzanne are older though. The Erves dolmen (the oldest monument of Mayenne) and recent archaeological excavation prouve that the site existed five or six centuries B.C...

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : the ramparts and the medieval dungeon, the Renaissance castle
    • Panoramas : view from the dungeon and the castle
    • Unusual sights : the Erves dolmen

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    • Salers de nuit

    Salers stands at an altitude of 950 m in the "Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne" Nature Park and is a site not to be missed in the region. It is a unique 16C architectural whole and its old houses made of dark lavastone and topped with turrets give the village an austere charm. Among the wealth of treasures to be found in the fortified town are the Church of Saint Mathieu with five 17C Aubusson tapestries, an entombment and a polychrome lectern.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : Remains of the ramparts, Beffroi and Martille gates
    • Gatronomy : Salers beef, Salers cheese, carrés de Salers cakes, an aperitif
    • Panoramas : View of Puy Violent and the Cantal Mountains from the esplanade de Barouze

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    • Sarrant vue sur les toits

    Situated 40 km from Auch, in Gascon country, Sarrant enfolds its tall stone, daub and half-timbered houses around the Church of Saint Vincent which was rebuilt and enlarged after the Wars of Religion. Entrance into the village is via a 14C arched gateway pierced through a solid square tower that is evidence of its medieval past.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The square tower and its arched gateway, remains of the ramparts

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    • Sauveterre-de-Rouergue nef église

    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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    • Ségur-le-Château le long de la rivière

    Ségur-le-Château is situated on a peninsula formed by a loop in the River Auvézère and is, as its name says, a "secure place" in which the Viscounts of Limoges chose to set up their fortified castle. Although only a keep of that 12C building remains today, many noble houses with turrets or half-timbering bear witness to the opulent period the village lived through from the 15C to the 18C when it was the seat of an Appeals Court extending jurisdiction over 361 seigniories in the region.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Auvézère
    • Castles and ramparts : Remains of the 12C castle
    • Unusual sights : Fête des Culs Noirs (Black-bottomed pig festival in August)

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