Approaching the Bruniquel, it looks much the same as any or many other hilltop villages in France. By the time we had spent a couple of days in the Tarn, in the south west of France, I felt I knew hilltop villages. I had hilltop village fatigue.
To some extent then, it was possibly fortunate that this was the first one I saw. Later in the day I was less inclined to take pictures, so at least my visit to Bruniquel was recorded. And it was well worth the visit.
The original church was destroyed during the religious wars of the 16th century but rebuilt during the 17th using the stones from the former Protestant church. It has a simple "clocher-mur" or bell wall typical of the south west of France. When the bells ring, they are incredibly loud, deafening, if you are nearby.
Up the hill to the clock tower, also with a bell, at an entrance through one of the fortified walls. It has two, and two castles, the old and the new. "Old" and "new" are relative terms because the new one dates from the 15th century.
Porte Méjane, through the old walls with a view of a medieval house, the tribunal house.
An arch and a doorway. Plenty of photo opportunities for me.
Place de l'Horloge, recently restored.
The new entrance, la Porte Neuve, with the only remaining vestiges of the "new" walls.
The "young" castle, currently undergoing extensive restoration.
A plaque on the wall with a quotation from Fréderi Mistral who wrote in Occitan. The plaque reads, "The route of St Jacques leads us to Paradise". It is a reference to the fact that Bruniquel is one of the stopping points on the Way of St Jacques (St James), also known as the Route of Santiago de Compostela.
Leaving the village, you get a better idea of just how dominant the castles must have been and a view of their positions - the old castle on the right and the new on the left.
They have recently found caves below the castles which have paintings and carvings dating from the Mesolithic era. The caves are unfortunately, but probably understandably, not open to the public.
I probably spent no longer than two hours there, maximum, maybe not even as much as that, and with hindsight it really wasn't long enough. I'd happily go back, this time armed with a good map.