Wednesday, October 3, 2012



BRUNIQUEL and PENNE are situated high above the Aveyron valley, a few kilometres east of Montricoux. 

These are fortified towns dating from the 13th Century. 

Doing a little historical research prior to touring through them helps to make these fascinating villages come much more alive when rambling around.

Place de l'Horlage

Royal Treasurer's lancet house. (above right) 
"Lancet" means pointed arches.

Characteristic of the monastic architecture of the day was the castle with groups of houses around its base.

The lord high up in his castle and the walls that surrounded the town offered protection. 

The religious order owned the land and contracted with the secular power for the construction.

Bruniquel has undergone major reconstruction and renovations. Penne, less so, with the ruins of its castle crumbling on a high rocky outcropping of limestone. Both these towns have a panoramic view of the meandering Aveyron River below, winding its way through lush forests. Over the hills are productive farmlands of cereal crops and mixed orchards.

Archaeological digs at Bruniquel have revealed Palaeolithic artefacts giving testimony to a Magdalenian culture  of some 15,000 years ago.

We pique-nique'd at Place du Rocas in Bruniquel. This was the town's medieval market square where flax, hemp and saffron were once sold, actually sold for longer than North Americans have used flax, hemp and saffron.

Today we renamed the square Place du Chats Macabre because of all the creepy cats that hang out here doing meow for scraps of food. 

Remember Marcel Lenoir from the previous blog posting? Well, he lived in Bruniquel from 1915 to 1921. (I could almost feel his presence)

Today the town of Penne would have a dove rather than a sword to represent it. In the Middle Ages, Penne was a stronghold of the Albigensians. 

It is more a centre of art than of war. 
Yes, it is another old world village, but Penne has its own colour and it is an easy town to get to. 

And the new pilgrims: you see them here too, for this place was on the Campostella walk.

For more travel photography with local information visit my website.

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