Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Roc d'Anglards

Roc d'Anglards

I made one last stop before I left Belcastel's pretty valley....Roc d'Anglards. Perched on a rock cliff 50 meters above the Aveyron River, this stone fortification is thought to date from the 5th century. Its strategic position most probably makes it the first 'belcastel' or war castle. You can hike to it from the church in Belcastel...about a kilometer...or access it from the road by a footpath that traverses a meadow, crossing over the river on this wooden bridge...
Nestled against the cliff on the other side is the grotto,  Le Lourdou. It was created at the end of the 19th century by the Belcastel curé, Abbé Gély. There is an altar, a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and a place to light candles. The first Mass was celebrated here in 1889.
Entrance to the grotto
From here you begin a steep ascent to the fort passing along the way the 12 Stations of the Cross marked by tall wooden crosses.
The partially restored structure at the top measures about 20 meters in diameter and consists of several small rooms connected by curling passageways...
making it easy to defend if attacked. From the fort you can see the Chateau at Belcastel far in the distance. It's thought that the fort became the castle's outpost and first line of defense against intruders.
Now the intruders are tourists who are warned that climbing on the walls of the fort is forbidden. And, oh yes, to pay particular attention to their children!

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