Fleeing from the Normans and carrying with them the relics of their founder, St-Laumer, some Benedictine monks found shelter in Blois where they decided to build their abbey. the present church, today known as St. Nicolas, but whose real name is St. Laumer, was the former abbey-church.
From 1138 to 1186 these monks built the choir, the transept and the first row of columns of the abbey-church, completing it at the beginning of the next century. During the War of Religion the church was disfigured and the abbey itself destroyed by the Protestants. In the 17th and 18th centuries abbey was rebuilt, it was turned into a hospital at the time of the Revolution.
The speed with which the church was built and the sole addition of the apse chapel in the 14th century give a surprising unity to the whole. On entering the church, one could imagine that it was worked in the same stone by the same workman, for the same majestic and robust characteristics appear in all the different parts of the church. The elegant form of the choir, the crossbar, the majestic pillars of the transept-cross, the statues of people and masks which are to be found along the entire length of the building, the perspective inside the church, where the horizontal lines dominate the verticals; all this adds up to harmonious ensemble, which places the abbey-church of St. Laumer among the most remarkable examples of French medieval architecture.
However, two different periods of construction - about 20 years between them - have left the building with two different, and very marked, architectural styles. It is from the center of the church that the visitor will be able to notice these characteristics the most easily.References:
The Château de Peyrelade name is derived from the occitan 'Pèira Lada', meaning wide rock; an accurate description of the site. Objects found on the site suggest it was inhabited in prehistoric times.
Thanks to its position controlling the entrance to the Gorges du Tarn, it was one of the most important castles in the Rouergue province. It existed at least as far back as the 12th century, and was the scene of incessant battles and sieges until 1633 when it was dismantled on the orders of Richelieu.
The ruins give a good idea of the layout of the castle. The outer wall was more than 250m long, 10m high and 2.1m thick. The castle was dominated by a natural rock keep more than 50m high, only accessible from a round tower attached to it.
The Château de Peyrelade is one of a group of 23 castles in Aveyron which have joined together to provide a tourist itinerary as La Route des Seigneurs du Rouergue. Château de Peyrelade is open to visitors from mid-June to mid-September.