Conques clings to a steep hillside slope at the meeting of two rivers the Dourdou and the Ouche (both rivers had corn mills), and has a
commanding view over the valleys below, the town itself is equally dominated by the grand Sainte Foy abbey or church. During the last millennium the
town has had a history of misfortunes that have left it totally dependent today upon tourism for its income, the only bright spot in all of this was probably
the twelth century.
Conques’ “ Château d’Humières ” (front and rear views below, and to the right in the general photo above) is a somewhat unimposing, although nonetheless interesting building dwarfed by the famous abbey-church of Ste Foy.
Conques was a popular stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, which at the time was still in France,
the religious order were unable to accommodate all the visitors and there were many “ bed & breakfast ” establishments that
offered shelter, at a price.
The town suffered terribly during the plague, but the death knell was probably the French revolution after which the church no longer had responsability for the abbey or the poor and everything fell upon the shoulders of the municipality. The twenty or so clergymen who had distributed food and clothing and maintained the buildings, departed, the inhabitants of the village had to sell their land and take jobs working the same land for the new owners!
Below : The “ Roman bridge ” across the river Dourdou
Copyright : © 2004 - 2016 ― Malcolm Beeson, all rights reserved.
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Revised (Mise à jour) -- 18 November 2016