Pcu St Amand De Coly Aout22agence Urope 40Pcu St Amand De Coly Aout22agence Urope 40
©Pcu St Amand De Coly Aout22agence Urope 40

Coly Saint-Amand

The village of Coly Saint-Amand: a spectacular 12th century fortified church and all the charms of the Périgord Noir.

The most impressive fortified church in Périgord

Just twenty kilometres from Sarlat and a stone’s throw from the caves of Lascaux, Coly Saint-Amand lies in the wooded hills of the Vézère valley.

Its 12th-century abbey church is considered to be the most beautiful fortified church in Périgord. It stands watch over the houses in the village, all built with the stone and slate roofs typical of the region, in a harmonious contrast of ochre and grey tones.

One of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in France'

The village of Coly Saint-Amand (formerly Saint-Amand-de-Coly) pops up through the lush countryside at the end of a winding road. Labelled as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Village in France’, with just a few hundred inhabitants, it boasts all the charms and characteristics of the Périgord Noir.

A small stream Le Coly has shaped its glens and hills while its imposing bell tower bears witness to a rich and tumultuous history depicted in frescoes and medieval writings.

Built with grey tiles and ochre stone, this spectacular church is the archetypal fortified sanctuary. From the dungeon tower housing a defensive room to the watchtower lodges hidden in the transept, the building is a most impressive structure.

The defensive ramparts of the church speak to the importance of the abbey, not just as a place of spiritual sanctuary but also a fortified stronghold that ruled over vast territories and withstood the threats to its power and its inhabitants.

A Hermit's vision

The village is named after Amand, a hermit from the Limousin region who lived in the 6th century. He came to evangelise the population of the Coly valley, and lived in a cave nearby. It is likely that a basic oratory (a simple place of worship) was built at this time. The presence of a monastery at Coly Saint-Amand was first mentioned in a document from the Vatican library dated 1048.

Construction of the imposing abbey church, with its monumental 30 m high bell tower, began in the 12th century. Until the 14th century, the abbey prospered, reaching the height of its influence. During the Hundred Years’ War the defense systems were put in place, making the abbey here the most heavily fortified church in Périgord.

From the middle of the 15th century, plague and the Wars of Religion led to the village’s decline. The abbey was largely destroyed. Restoration work began in the 19th century and is still ongoing today.The Abbey Church and the remains of the fortifications have been listed as Historic Monuments since 1886.

To see and do around Coly Saint-Amand

Château de la Grande Filolie

This fairy-tale castle, tucked away in a picturesque valley, is privately owned and not open to visitors. However it can be seen on foot when following this hiking trail:


The 14th century castle is a beautiful and spectacular ensemble of interlocking buildings and towers, built of ochre limestone and covered with slate roofs. It is a fine example of a residence that is part castle, part farm.

Summer Night Markets

In July and August, every Tuesday evening from 6pm, come to the vibrant night market! Discover and taste the specialties of local producers, share a table with the locals and join in the atmosphere!