Seven Wonders of the Region
There is something special about a cold, crisp sunny day and a walk around a wonderful village or town. Here we continue our guide to the Seven Wonders of the region. Happy days!
Surrounded by hiking trails and with a beautiful hillside view, AJAT in Dordogne is home to the 12th-century St Martin’s Church. Once occupied by the Templars, it has an imposing 25m bell tower and, inside, the paving covers many tombs, including that of Francis de Hautefort. A beautiful 1527 dwelling, once a relay on the route to Santiago, can be found nearby along with the Church of St Bartholomew of Bauzens which was built around the year 1000 and is one of the oldest in the department.
Ajat is the first of our seven wonders of the region
Old houses, narrow streets, a castle and ramparts sum up the village of BAZIAN in Gers. Overlooking the Mouliaque tributary, the village is approached by a square porch tower on four-levels, typical of the Castelnau-Gascon style. The church dates back to at least the 11th-century and the village boasts buildings transformed in the 16th and 17th-centuries with overhanging turrets and ancient openings. The remains of a Gallo-Roman villa was recently discovered some 300m from the village so keep your eye open for roman relics!
Pinnacles and needles flank the bell tower of L’Eglise Saint-Martin-de-Serres in the small village of LAMOTHE-LANDERRON in Gironde. Built on a Roman-Gallo site and originating from around the 12th-century, this stunning church was rebuilt some 400 years later, following the Wars of Religion. Now an historic monument, it is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are a lover of architecture. Situated in la Vallée de Garonne, it is an ideal place to relax and take a break during a bike ride or walk in beautiful countryside.
Make sure you stay late or stay over when visiting CARLUCET in Lot. In the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy, it is the ideal place to take in the stars during winter. Known as the black triangle of Quercy, the nature reserve has the darkest of nights with no light pollution from towns, villages and roads. A village of true character, it features pretty houses, and a quaint lavoir amongst its historical streets. Why not pick up a copy of “Histoire de Carlucet Depuis Sa Renaissance” from the Mairie while you are there?
The Cross of the Devil menhir at Tayrac
It may be a small village but TAYRAC in Lot et Garonne has had a big past. Don’t miss the Cross of the Devil, a menhir (standing stone) which, at 2.60 high and 1.75m wide, is the largest in the department. Built in the 12th-century and now an historical monument, L’Eglise de St. Amans contains two 16th-century vaulted chapels dedicated to St Anthony and St Catherine. The north chapel also bears the arms of the Sorbier, lords of Tayrac.
Sat on raised ground with panoramic views, the tiny village of BRASSAC in Tarn et Garonne is another of our Seven Wonders of the Region and has not one but two listed historic monuments. Built in the 12th-century as a fortified house with defensive walls and a moat, the Château de Brassac became more and more like a fortress over the 13th and 16th-centuries. Practically destroyed in the Hundred Years’ War, L’Eglise du Saint-Severin now features a carved entranceway and a pointed bell tower, thanks to works during the 16th and 19th-centuries.
The healing waters of the Saint-Sernin and Laurier fountains await you at LABEGE in N. Haute Garonne. Stop off at Maison Salvan and take in the contemporary art exhibits from national and international artists, and enjoy the fountain sculpture and imposing maison de maître complete with its 1906 solar lantern in St Bartholomew’s Square. Listed as an historical monument in 1977, the Bouysset pigeonnier dates back to the 1700’s, whilst L’Eglise Saint-Barthélemy was rebuilt in the 19th-century.
First published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of The Local Buzz