France // The Limousin, Dordogne and the Lot //


One of the finest and most substantial towns in the area is St-Antonin-Noble-Val, 30km southwest of Najac. It sits on the bank of the Aveyron beneath the beetling cliffs of the Roc d’Anglars, and has endured all the vicissitudes of the old towns of the southwest: it went Cathar, then Protestant, and each time was walloped by the alien power of the kings from the north. Yet, in spite of all this, it recovered its prosperity, manufacturing cloth and leather goods, and was endowed by its wealthy merchants with a marvellous heritage of medieval houses in all the streets leading out from the lovely place de la Halle. It’s on this square that you’ll find the town’s finest building, the Maison des Consuls, whose origins go back to 1120.

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