Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - Cordes and Najac

After picking up Nancy at the Toulouse airport mid-morning, we make our way home via Cordes and Najac.

Cordes (meaning rocky heights) is considered the first bastide town, chartered in 1222. Designed to resettle and shelter the local population decimated by the Albigensian crusade against the Cathars, it still maintains its original town center. It prospered in the wool, leather, and cloth trade, lost population in the Black Plague and 100 Years War, then regained markets with the development of plant-based indigo. Diminished again by the Religious wars and the loss of markets to synthetic indigo, plague and poor harvests, the final nail was driven when the Canal du Midi was finished and Cordes was no longer on the trade routes.  Cordes maintained itself on mechanical embroidery industry until the mid-20th century.  Tourism is now an important industry for the town.

Cordes from the valley
There's a little train that takes you up to the top of the town so you don't have to walk up.  Good thing too, as this town gives good competition to Beynac's town.

There's a market when we arrive in the lower town.

Gate at the top of the town

Looking through the upper gate
A bell for Clark looking over the edge from the top of the hill.

The church not far inside near the top of the fortified town.
Church was also a watchtower and defensive position

The bell tower twinned with the watchtower

The watchtower is taller than the bell tower

Some of the ports and gates

Some of the sites
A renaissance house

City well - important source of water especially in times of seige

It's a steep walk back down to the lower town. Hard on the knees.

Nancy partway down from the top.

Coat of arms of Cordes

Najac is one of France's "plus beaux villages" (most beautiful villages).

It sits on a ridge with a ruined castle at the highest peak and the town buildings stretched out in a single street along the rest of the ridge.  We drive up to the tourist office and easily find parking.  We walk steeply downhill through the town to then walk uphill to reach the castle and the church.
Ruined castle left and church right

Najac from a distance

The town:
Looking down Najac's old-town street

A beautiful azalea in Najac

This statue was likely just in the Ascension Day procession on Thursday

The castle:
Looking up to the castle from the "street" 

Looking out over Najac's street from the castle entrance level

The church:
This church was built into the rock which is at a steep pitch. The main entrance to the church is on the left side and at street level is the same level as the portal entrance that is at the top of these stairs

Poor Nancy. It's been a long 2 days for her flying over and going right for the tourist stuff. We don't get home till around 7:30 and eat a quick left-over dinner and send her off to bed.

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