The small, quiet village of Curemonte is home to three 14th and 15th century châteaux, three 12th century churches, six or seven 'noble houses', a market hall, and various rural houses, all beautifully preserved, proof of its great importance in medieval times.
Habitation at Curemonte has been traced back as far as the gallo-romans (1st to 4th centuries AD), followed by the Merovingiens (481-751 AD) and later the first seigneurs, one of whom, Raymond de Curemonte, went to the crusades in 1097 with the Viscount of Turenne. In the 14th century a former priory became the only female-run commanderie in France, dependant on the Order of Malta. There is no trace of these buildings today but it is known that the present day mairie stands on the site.
The village possesses three chateaux. The two impressive chateaux in the village centre share the same enclosing walls and have been owned by the same families since the 17th century. The chateau of Saint-Hilaire, with square towers, is the oldest and was built at the end of the 14th century on the ruins of older fortifications destroyed in the hundred years war. The eastern doorway dates from the renaissance period. The chateau of Plas, with round towers, was built in the middle of the 16th century only a few metres from its neighbour. In 1940 they were owned by Bel Gazou, the daughter of the famous French writer, Colette. The third and smaller chateau of Johannie next to the market hall dates from the beginning of the 15th century. Its high window, decorated in Renaissance style, is a masterpiece.
The 'noble houses' surrounding the chateaux, recognisable by their stair towers and carved relief around the doorways, date from the 16th century and belonged to the officers who served the lords of Curemont.
The village church of St Barthélemy, originally dating from the 12th century, has been modified over the centuries and fully restored recently. The 11th century church of St Hilaire at La Combe is open from Easter to All Saints Day and holds various exhibitions. The superbly restored 12th century Romanesque church of Saint-Genest, in a hamlet 1.5km from the town was built by Benedictine monks and its parish was linked to Curemonte after the French Revolution. It now houses a predominantly religious museum and possesses a remarkable altar piece and pulpit, and beautiful wall-paintings dating from the 15th century.
Location: In the south of the department of Corrèze, close to Collonges-la-Rouge.