Conques, deserves its award as one of the most beautiful villages of France, it sits on the edge of the gorge of the River Dourdou, in a beautiful setting, surrounded by mountains and forests. The approach from the south is along an especially attractive stretch of river. A lot of the original town walls and gates survive, sealing in the narrow village streets (many are cobbled) and many fine medieval houses built into the hillside – with great views of the valley below. It really is one of the 'not to be missed' villages of France! The tourist office will give you a plan of the village which shows the various places of interest including the stone gateways, the communal bread ovens (which still work), the convent, castle and fortifications.
Conques is a major stop-off point on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela.
The Saint Foy abbey is officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the pilgrim path to Santiago de Compostela. If you are staying the night in Conques during the summer don't miss a night time visit to the Abbey. You can attend a special service for the blessing of pilgrims and will be able to walk round the upper levels of the abbey where you have a fantastic view of the Abbey and the carved chapters. Organ music accompanies you as you wander round and the windows are illuminated to enable you to appreciate the modern windows which were installed in 1994. The evening is then finished off with an explanation of the famous tympanum above the main doorway. This depiction of the Last Judgement is considered to be one of the major art works of the 12th century. It really is incredible. There are 124 figures in the carvings which depict your fate if you are unlucky enough to go to hell! Surrounding the main carving are a few figures known as 'the curious ones' who look like little children peeking out from under a blanket at the scenes below.
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