Conques has its origins, like many of the villages of France, in ancient pilgrim paths. A hermit called Dadon settled here in the 8th century, and soon attracted a group of Benedictine monks to his side. One of those 'obtained' the relics of Sainte Foy (pronounced 'fwa') from Agen and brought them to the monastery, where they soon attracted pilgrims due to their apparent ability to cure blindness. Conques was soon a major stop-off point on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela.
Conques Abbey was built in the 10th - 12th centuries, and the church and cloisters have an international and deserved reputation for their artistic merit. The tympanum (carved 'picture' above the main doorway) of the Last Judgment is considered to be one of the major art works of the 12th century. It really is incredible. There are 124 figures in the carvings many depicting your ghoulish fate if you are unlucky enough to go to hell. Surrounding the main carving are a few figures known as 'the curious ones' who look like little children peeking out from under a blanket at the scenes below.
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