Conques is a village that has really managed to preserve its genuine identity. Spread along the hillside, the urban area surrounds the Abbey in a wide semicircle.


A town map, also available in English, allows you to discover in depth the village. Guided tours are also possible during the high season. Information at the Tourism Office.


Conques is a village that has really managed to preserve its genuine identity. Spread along the hillside the urban area surrounds the abbey in a wide semicircle. The medieval original plan is still present nowadays in its major lines.

An enclosed town

Since its origin, or soon afterwards, Conques became an enclosed town, probably one of the first in the Rouergue region. The construction of the ramparts dates from the Romanesque period indicated by the architecture of the three remaining arches in the surrounding walls.

The original layout was largely retained, a rectangle of almost 250m x 150m, orientated North-West/South-East. The remaining ramparts are still visible in the upper part of the town, close to the Centre Européen, and also in the area of the cemetery and the cloister, overlooking the Ouche ravine. The ramparts form part of the sustaining walls of the abbey buildings, which explains their massive schist stones and buttresses not found elsewhere.

The Romanesque entrance gates

The Porte de Fer (iron gate), a simple postern, has a slanted lintel identical to the one on the southern porch of the Abbey, while the two others, the Porte du Barry down the Rue Charlemagne and the Porte de la Vinzelle, are both barrel vaulted ending with a semi-circular arch surmounted by a discharging one.

Only a few towers still stand roughly intact, including the one defending the Porte de la Vinzelle to the North-West and the cemetery turret, which has a corbelled structure.

Read + Read -


The Bread Ovens

As a precaution against fire, the bread-ovens were placed outside the ramparts.

Two of them are still standing, having been rebuilt in modern times, one in front of the former Porte de Fumouze, the other in the former moat lining the western wall.

The public fountains

Conques is also privileged to have preserved its fountains from the Romanesque era, all built according to the same layout. The spring water caught by a stone conduit flows into a subterranean tank, stone built and barrel vaulted, and reaches the outside, at street level, through a semi-circular opening.

During the 12th century the Guide des pèlerins de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle indicated the Plò fountain beside the church square in these words: "In front of the doors of the basilica runs an excellent source, with virtues more wonderful than people could say". The tank is located beneath the church square.

The Fumouze fountain, welcoming pilgrims after their long journey, has still its original coping on which to rest buckets. Its well-constructed arch made of yellow limestone appears to be contemporary with the Romanesque abbey-church and cloisters stones. Lastly, the Barry fountain is located outside the town, down the Rue Charlemagne that connects the town to the lower suburbs, where the craftsmen had their workshops (mills, tannery, etc...).


Saint-Roch Chapel (15th century) perched on a rocky spur is a reminder of the location of Conques' original fort said to have been from the 11th century.


The Pont Romain (named as such for it was used by the pilgrims or romius in Occitan) enables to cross the Dourdou River.

Since 1998, the pilgrims’ bridge and Saint-Foy Abbey-church are registered on the list of the World Heritage of Humanity by the UNESO in regards of the Routes to Compostella in France.



The village's oldest dwellings only date from the end of the Middle Age. The adaptation to the sloping terrain and the common use of local materials give a unified identity to the houses in Conques, whatever their period of construction.

Laid out on the hillside on different levels, their principal facades face south and they have two entrances, one at ground level opening on to the lower street, and the second on the upper level opening on to a garden or the upper street. According to a local saying: "In Conques one gets in through the attic and out through the cellar". Cellars are present everywhere in this former vineyard region, sometimes located next to a workshop. Each one had to be dug out of the rock and, to prevent any mass of rock from falling, a load-bearing arch was often built against the back wall.


The construction material: schist stone, sandstone, limestone

In Conques the schist stone is the master. Extracted on location and easy to cut, it provides the building material, the roof covering called lauze, and also the street cobbles. The high perched roofs tinted of glints of silver pierced here and there by dormers or even pinnacles, play a great role in the charm of the village. In the doors and window frames, the schist stone is replaced by the pink or grey cut sandstone, and occasionally by granite. Finally, the beautiful Rousset, the yellow limestone used in the Abbey-church can be found here and there in buildings, sometimes in columns or even in sculpted fragments originally from the Romanesque monastic buildings. The plundering of the construction materials by the residents reached its peak during the 19th century, after the demolition of the cloisters.

The timbered and corbelled facades

The half-timbered houses are another unique feature built according to a 15th century technique used until at least the dawn of the 19th century. Between the slanted or X-shaped sections of timber are chunks of schist rocks. The most beautiful facades have two corbelled-floors, each resting on beams with carved ends. Whoever views Conques from the Bancarel site will appreciate the consistent uniformity of all these old houses and the massiveness of the Abbey-church dominating them.

Read + Read -