The quintessence of the Middle Ages in Quercy
Saint-Namphaise: the story of a hermit across the Causse
Legend has it that Namphaise was an officer of Charlemagne. After having experienced the difficult trials of war, he chose to live in reclusion in the heart of the Causses. After having founded a first monastery in Marcilhac-sur-Célé, in the Lot, he chose the heart of the Causses of Quercy to continue his quest for spirituality. To help the peasants, he dug many lakes so that the herds could have water on the dry and arid causses. Today, there are several hundred waterholes dug out of the rock, which have become reserves of biodiversity. According to legend, Namphaise was killed by a furious bull, and his relics now rest in the crypt of the church in Caniac-du-Causse.
The art of bringing the divine word
The Middle Ages used ingenuity to instruct the faithful through sculpture, painting and any visual representation of passages from the Bible or of holy figures. Today, there are many Romanesque churches throughout the Department, but few of them have retained any painted decoration. A few nuggets remain, however: the churches of Soulomès and Lunegarde.
Soulomès, a small village that one passes through without taking notice, was invested from 1160 onwards with a Templar commandery, of which the church of Sainte-Marie Madeleine and the commandery adjoining the church remain. Its remarkable decoration includes scenes from the passion of Christ and the representation of the tetramorph in the cross vaults.
Lunegarde is a place out of time, in the heart of the Causses. The church of Saint-Julien has a shimmering pictorial programme which allows the visitor to discover the very particular style of painting of the 1500s.