Classed as one of France’s
prettiest villages, Saint-Jeande-
Côle sits on the banks of
the river Côle. Its focal point
is a late 11th-century priory,
torched by the English during
the Hundred Years’ War and
looted by Protestants in 1569,
during the Wars of Religion. It
was rebuilt in the 17th century.
The 12th-century Byzantine-
Romanesque church has a
very unusual plan: it forms a
semicircle around the apse.
Wooden carvings in the choir
date from the 18th century.
The medieval bridge and
the rue du Fond-du-Bourg,
lined with 14th-century halftimbered
houses, add to the
village’s picturesque appeal.
The 12th-century Château de la
Marthonie, on place Saint-Jean,
was rebuilt in the 15th century
and enlarged in the 17th.


The Château de Jumilhac,
20km (12 miles) northeast
of Saint-Jean-de-
Côle, is a 13th-century
castle. A magnificent
roof set with pepperpot
towers and skylights was
added in 1600. The outbuildings
and ramparts
were demolished in the
17th century to make
room for luxurious
reception areas, including
a drawing room
based on that at Versailles,
and a magnificent
Louis XIII-style staircase.

Château de
Jumilhac. Tel (05) 53 52 42
97. # Easter–May & Oct–
Nov: daily pm; Jun–Sep: