Saint Antonin Noble Val
In the heart of the Aveyron Gorges nestles the mediaeval town of Saint Antonin Noble Val, witness to twelve centuries of history. The historical centre comprises half-timbered houses higgledy-piggedly clustered in narrow, winding lanes. Many of these facades proudly boast twin or mullioned windows, Gothic and Romanesque arches above doorways, as well as traces of ancient market stalls. “But we’re in a museum!”, exclaimed the architect Viollet-le-Duc (who restored the city of Carcassonne) upon the occasion of his visit to ‘the small town of Saint-Antonin’ one fine September day in 1842.
In the valley of the river Bonnette, Caylus forms a crossroads between the Quercy and the Rouergue. The town grew around the castle built high on the hill above the river. A bustling town in the Middle Ages, many vestiges remain, such as rich merchants’ houses dating from the 13th to 16th centuries, especially ‘La maison des loups’, or House of wolves. The Saint Jean church and market hall are well worth a visit. Lovers of old architecture will find much to admire in the surviving mediaeval facades to be found in the Rue Droite as well as the ‘new castle’, the ruins of the old royal castle and the Goléjac pavillon.
Montpezat de Quercy
The village comprises old stone houses and Gallo-Roman vestiges. The collegiate church, dating from the 19th century, houses a fine clerical collection, including artefacts accumulated since the Middle Ages, notably legacies from the cardinal of Pres, whose beautiful marble recumbent tomb perpetuates his memory.
The 14th C town gate, the Canons’ residence dating from the 15th and 17th centuries and many fine Renaissance houses figure among the sights to be seen in the village.
The village is dominated by a simple feudal castle tower and, situated on the St Jacques’ Pilgrims’ Way, has been listed since 1972. The village has retained its 13th century grid structure and it’s worth meandering through the streets, admiring half-timbered houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s also worth stopping to gaze over the breath-taking views of the valley.
On the southern border of the Quercy, west of Tarn et Garonne and halfway between Agen and Moissac, one finds the ‘bastide’ of Castelsagrat with its delightful square surrounded by covered arches dating from between the 13th and 14th centuries. You will be transported back in time, wandering along its mediaeval streets, gazing up in the square and down into the Roman well. The church is also well worth visiting with its magnificent reredos, unmatched in its genre.
Thanks to its privileged geographical position situated between Valence d’Agen, Agen in the Lot-et-Garonne and Lectoure in the Gers, Dunes has been able to retain its original urban plan. Do explore this village with its squares, covered arches and 16th century half-timbered houses, remarkable for their decorative brickwork. Don’t miss the Templars’ Tower and the promenade along the ramparts, not forgetting the 14/15th century church with its Baroque reredos. The discovery of a treasure trove of 500 ancient silver coins, a tomb and a gold spur all buried around 118 to 106 AD, proves that the village was inhabited as far back as the Visigoth era in the fifth century.
Beaumont de Lomagne
The village is a 'bastide', fortified town, and is one of the most perfect examples of new towns of the 18th century. The market hall and church are the main mediaeval monuments.
Supported by 38 pillars, the wooden hall is still home to markets today and its structure remains that of the Middle Ages.
The fortified church is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture in Southern France, and its elegant bell tower was modelled upon that of the Jacobins in Toulouse.
Beaumont de Lomagne is also the birthplace of the famous mathematician Pierre Fermat.
From the Latin «malum» (mal/bad) and Galois «becco» (bec/beak), Maubec was originally a Gallic fortified outpost occupying a strategic position on the ancient Toulouse-Lectoure route, following the Sarrampion valley on its right bank. It was a staging post and market town, hosting fairs and was prosperous thanks to its position.
Limestone is present everywhere and serves as the base for the mediaeval ramparts, pierced with arrow slits, which surround the village creating an atmosphere reminiscent of days of yore.
This small mediaeval village boasts treasures such as its castle and ancient houses, but notably its church decorated with capitals typical of Romanesque art of the Rouergue, and is amongst the first great edifices of this period.
A walk along the banks of the River Aveyron, easily accessible, offers a haven of calm: shady, pleasant and peaceful.
A lake 3 km long allows you to spend some time out canoeing or rowing.
The area around Montricoux has been inhabited since Palaeolithic times, as is witnessed by the discovery of chiseled flint stones.
Montricoux retains a great number of vestiges of mediaeval times: the Templar dungeon; its castle, which is now a museum dedicated to the painter Marcel-Lenoir, a well-known figure in Montmartre in the 20s; its church modelled on the Saint-Sernin basilica in Toulouse; its watchtowers and its ramparts; not forgetting its numerous half timbered houses.
The mill on the river Aveyron, still active today, completes the picture.