Kenneth John Conant. Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture: 800-1200. New York: Penguin, 1959; 1978.

Images of Sainte Foy, Conques, France

Ste. Foy--page 1 (of ten pages): views of the exterior

dating: The nave, the oldest part, is dated at about 1050 while the church may not have been finished until about 1130; the crossing tower is twelfth century and the apse at about 1080. The western towers are 19th century.

Nestled on the slope of the valley

The picturesque town of Conques is located in what was once the province of Rouergue, now the Aveyron department, and is situated in a beautiful gorge hollowed out by the Ouche River.

The front facade

Buildings are densely packed in this medieval town and the church is enclosed in a wide arc by the town. The town walls, though originally built in Roman times, have been reinforced and rebuilt over the centuries. Most of the buildings are stone with a silvery slate for the roofs. The church, however, is of yellow limestone. Most of the monastic buildings of the abbey are now gone, their stone being pillaged for later buildings in the town.

Delmas and Fau refer to the "fortress-like austerity" of this high facade and note that nothing interrupts the buttresses which "rise to the roof in one fell swoop," this in contrast to the chevet with its graceful pyramidal elevation (30).
The pictures in the center and right below were photographed by my husband, William J. Sullivan.

View from the north side toward the west front

The paired towers were added in the 19th century.

The crossing tower seen from the chevet and from the intersection of the nave and transept


The nave wall and the exterior of the north transept


The side from the south

This side of the church joined with the cloister, part of which remains today. See cloister.

The south side with the burial niche of Bégon III, one the great abbots of the monastery


One of the radiating chapels with a contemporary stained glass window by Pierre Soulages

Soulages, an internationally known French abstract painter, created more than one hundred windows for the church, installed in 1994.

Continue to page 2 for additional exterior views.

Works consulted or quoted:
Claire Delmas and Jean-Claude Fau. Conques. Éditions du Beffroi, n.d. [official guidebook].
Kenneth John Conant. Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture: 800-1200. New York: Penguin, 1959; 1978.

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.