Castles and ramparts

    • Séguret détail fontaine

    Séguret stands at the foot of the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail range, looking out over the Rhône Valley in a landscape of vineyards, with the tower of its medieval castle above it. As visitors stroll along the waymarked path through the village, they can see Reynier gate, remains of the fortifications, Mascarons fountain, the wash house, the belfry and the Romanesque Church of Saint Denis.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : La Bise, Neuf and Reynier gates
    • Panoramas : View of the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail range and Comtat plain
    • Wine : AOC Côtes du Rhône Séguret wines

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    • Seillans Vue Verticale Oliviers

    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 vaches et vue sur le village

    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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  • 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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    Turenne bears the name of a powerful viscountcy that ruled over Limousin, Périgord and Quercy for ten centuries and it has kept many traces of its past : César and le Trésor towers, remains of the castle overlooking the village, old town houses dating from the 15C to 17C adorned with turrets or bartizans and more modest dwellings tiled with "lauze" stone slabs or slate.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : Remains of the castle of the Viscounts of Turenne
    • Panoramas : View of the village and rolling countryside from the esplanade in front of the castle

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    • Venasque marché

    At the foot of Mont Ventoux, clinging to a rocky peak overlooking vineyards, garrigue and cherry trees, Venasque is an old medieval settlement which only has the remains of the ramparts and three Saracen towers to show as evidence of those times. Steep lanes, creamy stone houses, Notre Dame Church/Cathedral and a magnificent 11C baptistery are to be found in the heart of this Provencal village.

    Themes

      • Abbeys and churches : 11C, 12C and 13C baptistery (restored in the 19C)
      • Castles and ramparts :
      • Panoramas : View of Carpentras plain

      Ramparts and Saracen towers

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  • This former commercial town was the capital of Conflent and has kept exquisite traces of its history and of its status as a defensive site. For instance, the ramparts and La Viguerie tower, both built by the Count of Cerdagne in the 11C, then strengthened with fortifications added by architect Vauban in the 17C and the Fort Libéria, recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, or the stalls and houses that belonged to leading citizens or rich traders.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Têt
    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts, towers, Fort Libéria
    • Unusual sights : Caves with limestone concretions

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    • Vogüé vue Ardèche

    Built against a cliff on the banks of the Ardèche, the castle of the Lords of Vogüé and its four round towers watch over the village and its narrow streets lined with arcades and arched passageways. The pretty houses that sport warm colours and round-tiled roofs are evidence of the village’s southern French character.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Ardèche
    • Castles and ramparts : Castle and ramparts

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    • Vouvant cour du Miracle

    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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    • Yvoire vue sur le port et le château

    Yvoire’s stone houses with wooden balconies and its narrow streets decked with wisteria and geraniums are just two of the reasons that have earned it the name of "pearl of Lake Geneva" (Lac Léman in French). The village was once a fishing and boatmen’s port overlooked by a square keep which today is one of the relics of Yvoire’s medieval past. In 2006, Yvoire celebrated the 700th anniversary of its fortifications that were built by Amédée V the Great, Count of Savoy.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : Lake Geneva
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle, ramparts and Rovorée and Nernier gates
    • Unusual sights : The Garden of the Five Senses

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