The Lot, the Dourdou Rivers and their tributaries nestled inside a wavy table of schistose and granitic rocks open up a network of deep and convolute valleys shaping the Segala of Conques. Here, the gorges are cut deeply by the Ouche torrent that flows into the Dourdou in an angle. They widen slightly and outline some sort of a cirque or conque, which indents the horizontal plateau. It is a true relief of hollows. The steep escarpments, the rocky outcrops and the dark spots of the chestnut trees generate a landscape full of severity and majesty.
Many travellers are struck by the wild aspect of Conques' environment. That was the case for the writer Prosper Mérimée in 1837, then inspector for the Historical Monuments. He admitted not being prepared to find so many treasures in such a remote place. Yet, these natural surroundings were originally well chosen and they presented many climatic advantages. The abbey and the town were set on the sunny slopes, sheltered from the northern winds, perched high enough to escape humidity and the thick fog ascending from the valley. The numerous springs provided the water necessary to sustain life.