The Liadou of Conques

Deserving of all the superlatives, the Sainte-Foy de Conques abbey church, inscribed on the World Heritage List of Humanity by UNESCO, under the Routes of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France, is at the forefront of major buildings designed by the genius of Romanesque man, after the fears of the year 1000. The construction of the current church, on the site of the 10th century basilica, dates back to the abbey of Odolric (before 1031-1065), continued under those of Stephen (1065-1087) and very active Bégon (1087-1107) to end with that of Boniface (1107-around 1125).

Conches and Romanesque art

Sainte-Foy de Conques, spiritual and architectural beacon

Sainte-Foy de Conques serves as a prototype, and its architectural characteristics serve, to a certain extent, to define the model of the large so-called pilgrimage churches.

The homogeneity of the plan of the building, in which a community of Benedictine monks, established in Conques since the year 800, celebrated services, truly reflects a perfect unity of design such as several generations of master builders or masons anonymous people defined it. Because of its dual purpose – the liturgical celebration and the reception of pilgrims who come in their thousands to pray near the holy bodies –

In order to facilitate the reception and movement of the faithful, side aisles line the nave; the transept has large crosspieces, and in the apse an ambulatory onto which radiating chapels open surrounds the choir. In its architectural perfection, the Conques abbey church nevertheless offers some particularities linked to the constraints of the terrain: a nave of six bays, abnormally short, a transept of exceptional size, an apse only equipped with three radiating chapels.

The interior elevation, on the other hand, commands admiration with its 22.10 meters of height under the vaults of the nave and its 26.40 meters for the dome of the lantern tower rebuilt – after its collapse – on the crossing of the transept during the last decades of the 15th century.