Are you visiting Conques for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in one of “The Most Beautiful Villages” in the South of France. Conques Abbey-Church is one of the major architectural monuments that line the route to Santiago de Compostela.
Conques – The most Beautiful Village of France
When I have a visitor from out of town the first place they want to see is the village of Conques, but I also take them to the church and the Treasury of Conques – for an authentic experience.
When I want to escape the tourists, my favorite place to visit are the many hiking trails around the village, especially the Bancarel site, for a full view on the village.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Ostrich farm in Senergues, do some kayaking on the Lot river or visit some castles in the surroundings (Château du Colombier with its animal park).
If you are looking for gastronomic Conques cuisine, I recommend the Restaurant Hervé Busset, listed one star in the Michelin Guidebook and many local restaurants with traditional and typical foods from the region. This is also a great place to stay, as Domaine de Cambelong was once a former windmill and is perched next to the River Dourdou.
The best place to go for French pastry is the Pastry and Bakery “Le Fournil du Pèlerin” in the village (open during the season). Try the wonderful walnut cookies. I brought some packages home as edible souvenirs.
Looking for reasonably priced food in Conques? Go for the snacks or choose a menu according to your budget in many locations (restaurants, crêperies, pizzeria…). Most restaurants have a good price-quality ratio.
Most restaurants are open at night and are the spots for late night dining. Afterwards, visit the upper gallery of the church when the organ plays and the light show is happening during high season.
Conques Art and Architecture
Seeing a lot of art and architecture in Conques? Conques is best known for its authentic landscape setting, its Romanesque art heritage (architecture and sculpture, with its famous Tympanum of the Last Judgment from 12th century), its unique Treasury of goldsmith art from medieval time and the contemporary stained-glass windows by the painter Pierre Soulages.
When you come to Conques, get your picture taken from the Bancarel site, on the south side of the village, across the Ouche valley.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of the Bancarel site (either by foot or by car on a different direction) or walking down towards the St-Roch Chapel on the Rue Charlemagne.
The village of Conques offers great point of views. Conques is the best place to experience music with the summer event of the Festival “La lumière du Roman.”
In Conques, outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike on many trails or walk long distances on the Compostela trail, bike on small winding picturesque roads or rent a donkey to carry the luggage along the hiking trails.
Looking for a little exercise? Try canoeing or kayaking on the Lot River (starting points in Entraygues, Port de Vieillevie or Grand-Vabre, 5km from Conques or rapids from Entraygues).
If you are a museum lover, Conques best museum is the Treasury of goldsmith art, with its unique collection of reliquaries from medieval times, including the famous Majesty of Saint-Foy (Saint-Faith). Other collections may be found in the Joseph Fau museum (medieval sculptures, tapestries and furniture from the 16th and 17th century).
Enjoy a night out on the town? For a night of dancing, go around Rodez. Cinema could also be an option. Cinema festival in Conques is all year-round and you can find Cineplex in Decazeville and Rodez.
The Centre-Presse, Midi-Libre and La Dépêche, local newspapers, will keep you posted on what’s happening in Conques and the surrounding area.
Things to See and Do in Conques, France
In the spring you should attend local festivities, the spring awakening of Nature around Conques and the festivities around Easter times.
In the summer you should attend the many concerts, theater plays, conferences and local festivities.
Plan a visit to Conques in the fall for the festivities around St-Foy (procession with the Majesty in the cloister), the vineyard harvest of Conques’ wine, the blossoming of the Safron flowers in Lunel (Safran de Majorac) and the many conference held in the evening at the Centre européen.
Experience the peace and quiet of Conques in the winter. Mist and frost surround sleeping nature in the village. Local Christmas markets of the region offer enchanting discoveries, while Christmsa time is celebrated in the abbey-church.
Insider Tip: Conques is one of the most beautiful villages of France, Great Site of Midi-Pyrenees. The church and the pilgrims’ bridge are classified Worldwide Heritage by UNESCO.
Just outside of Conques you can visit the vineyards of Conques, have lunch at one of the numerous restaurants. Some of them are open all year-round.
The best way to see Conques is to walk. Many trails lead you to discover the nature surrounding the village and offer spectacular view points.
What are your favorite things to do in Conques, France?
For more up-to-date happenings, follow Conques on Twitter, ATOUT France on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. For all things travel related, follow Travel Expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.
If You Go:
Thanks to Atout France, Conques Tourism Board and Midi-Pyrenees Regional Tourism Board for assistance with this post. Photos and YouTube video courtesy of Nancy D. Brown. Bottom photo courtesy of Conques Tourism.