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Espalion to Conques via Estaing

October 2007

 

Link to Maps of the Pilgrimage Roads of France

 

Back to from Aubrac to the River Lot and Conques

 

 

Links to Espalion's little Via Podiensis Pilgrim Churches

 

 

      

     Bessuéjouls                                                  L'Église de Perse

 

There are two other Romanesque churches on the other side of the river which we did not have time to visit - Nadaillac and Levignac.

 

and Espalion also boasts a Templar Chapel, now called the Vaylet Museum

 

a local history site

 

links on this page will take you to a number of other towns, churches and castles.

 

 

 

The Via Podiensis, the pilgrims' road from le Puy to Conques is shown by a dotted line.  The old road crossed the Olt river by a ford before reaching Espalion.  Note that "Olt" is the Occitan version of "Lot".

 

 

 

 

Medieval bridge and riverside (ware)houses in Espalion - the bridge has five spans, but the outer two have been built in.  In the late middle ages the bridge was heavily fortified.

 

Link to a really good website for Espalion and some neighbouring places

 

Two Espalionais men - Benoît Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze - invented the deep sea diving suit, an invention commemorated by a riverside statue which would look a bit odd if you did not know why it was there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The small town of Estaing on the River Lot.  Rumour has it that sometime French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing has bought the castle (which was most recently a school), though the similarity of names is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hikers set off across the medieval bridge at Estaing (above) to join the main pilgrimage road to Conques on the other side of the river.  Most medieval pilgrims would have crossed the river at a ford between St-Côme d'Olt and Espalion because then there were no bridges up here!

 

 

On the way to Conques the River Dordou flows past the isolated old hillside piazza-less Bastide town of Villecomtal (below).  Sadly nothing was too isolated for German firing squads in WWII.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dordou valley plays host to Conques and the Cathedral of St-Foy a bit further west

 

 

 

 

..... but on this drive we were headed the other way ... past a tiny little valley chapel (identity unknown but rich enough to have a large bell) to our hotel base beside another medieval bridge at Entraygues-sur-Truyère

 

 

 

 

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