Saint Robert Festival De Musique Classique Malikaturin 0289 1.jpg 1920px 1Saint Robert Festival De Musique Classique Malikaturin 0289 1.jpg 1920px 1
©Saint Robert Festival De Musique Classique Malikaturin 0289 1.jpg 1920px 1


A little gem on the borders of Limousin and Périgord

Off the beaten track, Saint-Robert is situated in a picturesque rural setting with an impressive historic heritage, labelled as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”.

A Monks Tale

The village’s history is intertwined with the Benedictine monastery founded by the disciples of Saint Robert of Turlande, in the 11th century. The village was the scene of violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants during the Wars of Religion, a conflict marked by political turmoil and violence between the two religious factions.

Due to its strategic location this remarkable 12th-century Romanesque fortified church (which resembles a cross between a castle and church) was at the heart of the village’s defence system. Effectively serving as a barrier, Saint-Robert blocked the passage into the Périgord making it a prime target for both sides during the conflict.

Situated on a hill at an altitude of 320 m, on the borders between the Corrèze and the Dordogne, Saint-Robert has withstood the ravages of  this conflict and managed to preserve its medieval character, making it one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France‘.

Call me by my name

The origins of this thousand-year-old village can be traced back to the Benedictine monks who founded the priory in the village in 1122. This priory, along with the surrounding Benedictine monastery, played an instrumental role in the early development and establishment of the village.

Initially called Murel (the name of the limestone plateau on which it is built), it was renamed Mont Bel Air during the French Revolution, as all places bearing the name of a saint were abolished. It finally returned to its original name of Saint-Robert again in 1795.

Born into the nobility of Auvergne, Saint Robert de Turlande (1001-1067) took his religious vows at the age of 25. He later became a hermit, then an itinerant preacher, healing the sick. In 1050, he founded the famous abbey of La Chaise Dieu and initiated the construction of more than 50 churches and priories in the region.

All that remains of the Benedictine monastery is the present-day church, which was fully restored in the late 19th century.

A place of inspiration

Sitting high on a limestone plateau, Saint-Robert boasts uninterrupted panoramic views over the valley, the hamlet of Saint-Maurice, the market town of Ayen and the city of  Brive-La-Gaillarde in the distance.

Saint-Robert is the quintessential essence of rural France, where time seems to stand still and the beauty of simplicity comes to life.

From the village’s square, the narrow alleys are filled with remnants of the past, stone buildings and medieval noble houses. In the 16th and 17th centuries many powerful families settled in the village which is reflected in its diverse and impressive architectural heritage.

On such noble house, the Pavillon de Noailles was built in the Renaissance style and was home to Henri-Pierre Roché during the first half of the 20th century. Every year, Roché spent several months at the Pavillon de Noailles. A famous art dealer, friend of Pablo Picasso and author of the novel Jules et Jim, later his book was adapted into a film by the leading French nouvelle vague director François Truffaut.

The only remaining remnant of the Benedictine monastery, the 12th century fortified church, is missing its nave, destroyed in the 16th century during the Wars of Religion. In its place is now the village square. The only remains of the original building are the choir and its three radiating chapels, as well as the transept. Look out for a beautifully crafted 13th-century Christ statue inside.

A classical music festivalL’Eté musical de Saint-Robert – is held here every summer. The festival showcases a diverse program of classic masterpieces held in the intimate atmosphere of this Romanesque church. A moving experience not to be missed as the acoustics of the ancient setting elevate the music to new heights.

The Fountain of Miracles

The miraculous fountain is located in Saint-Maurice, a hamlet just below Saint-Robert. According to legend, it had healing powers for sickly children.

To be cured, the children were stood in front of the fountain. They were then undressed and water from the spring was poured over their heads. They were then given new clothes, leaving the old ones behind.

A religious pilgrimage attracting large crowds was held here every year on the 15th of August for centuries. Today, the village festival still happens on the same day with a procession paying homage to this ancient pilgrimage practice.

To get to the fountain of miracles on foot, a 7 km hike starts at the church in Saint-Robert. This lovely (and a bit steep) trek takes on average 2h15 min round trip. Follow the yellow trail markings.