Fénelon in Carennac: river Dordogne's waters fired his imagination

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Fénelon, Carennac - ©Christophe.Finot / CC-BY-SA Fénelon, Carennac - ©Christophe.Finot / CC-BY-SA
Carennac medieval city Medieval city

This nice little village is gathering around the priory and the Romanesque church with its sculpted porch (12th century). Our story begins in 932, when viscount of Cahors, Frotard, gave a church in Carennac to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne abbey.

One century later, belonging to the bishop of Cahors, they added a priory extended little by little from the 12th century. After the Hundred Years War, the cloister was rebuilt between 1478 and 1507. During war of Religion, the abbot fortified the city. Nice idea! So it was spared by Protestants, who meanwhile... plundered the area. Charming!

In the 17th century, Salignac de La Mothe Fénelon family became the new owners of the priory of Carennac. Fénelon? Oh, the most famous member of this family, François, became the prior. He also became archbishop of Cambrai and a famous writer!

He spent lot of time here, in his childhood, at his uncle house (who was prior of Carennac before him). When he died in 1681, François took the place for 15 years... He wrote here in Carennac his Aventures de Télémaque: and by the way, the small island located in front of the priory, on the river Dordogne, was called... "Telemaque's island"! He also wrote a poem, which praised the village:

"Mais dans ce rude paysage, où tout est capricieux et d'une beauté sauvage, rien ne rappelle à mes yeux les bords que mon fleuve arrose; fleuve où jamais le vent n'ose les moindres flots soulever, où le ciel serein nous donne Le printemps après l'automne, sans laisser place à l'hiver."

And also!