Carennac is a famously picturesque Quercynois village of stone houses with red-brown tiled roofs, clustered in narrow lanes around its 10th century fortified Cluniac priory and chateau.
The village is highly photogenic and excellent for a leisured stroll while admiring the architecture of the houses and the imposing château building. Go through the stone archway to find the entrance to the 16th century château des Doyens with its corner towers and a gallery constructed above the gothic chapels of the church. The chateau houses the 'Espace Patrimoine', a permanent exhibition covering the art and history of the valley of the Dordogne.
Adjoining the chateau is the church of St Pierre, its porch decorated with a 12th century sculpture similar to that of the abbey of Beaulieu, and of Moissac, Collonges-la-Rouge and Cahors. The cloisters are peaceful and worth visiting (small admission charge) - the highlight is the adjoining chapter house with its remarkable 15th century stone carving of the entombment of Christ.
Fenelon, later famous as bishop of Cambrai and the author of Télémaque, was prior of Carennac in 1681 and lived there for many years.
Certain houses date from the 16th century. Of the old ramparts only one fortified gateway, the buildings, the chateau and the tower of the priory remain today.
Location: On the left bank of the Dordogne, not far from the charming village of Loubressac.
Activities : Canoes can be hired nearby in summer. A short channel leads into the small lake that separates the village from Ile Calypso, and from there a channel takes you to the Dordogne river.