The main road in Bruniquel
Coat of arms
|Coordinates: 44°03′24″N 1°39′59″E|
|Intercommunality||Terrasses et Vallée de l'Aveyron|
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Michel Montet|
|33.2 km2 (12.8 sq mi)|
|• Density||19/km2 (48/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||90–382 m (295–1,253 ft) |
(avg. 130 m or 430 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
The tiny fortified village of 561 inhabitants is at an altitude of 250 m (820 ft) by the river Aveyron.
The river Vère flows northward through the commune, then flows into the Aveyron, which forms most of the commune's northern border.
The village is a picturesque mixture of old pink stone and red tile with a dramatic belfry, medieval gateways and defensive walls. Two feudal medieval castles dominate the village and the valley, one of which is the Château de Bruniquel.
The 'old' castle was built in the 12th century on the ruins of an earlier fortress said to have been founded by Queen Brunehaut in the 6th century and remained occupied until the 20th century. It was the home of William of Tudela who wrote the first part of La Chanson de la Croisade Albigeoise, an account of the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars. The castle is notable for a gallery 20 metres (66 ft) long in Renaissance style overhanging the valley of which it offers steep views that many visitors find alarming.
The 'young' castle was built in the 15th century and occupied for about 200 years. It now houses a museum of prehistory exhibiting "treasures of Bruniquel" found in several caves near the castles.
These caves include the Cave of Mayrières supérieure which contains ancient wall paintings that were damaged by overenthusiastic graffiti cleaners in 1991 and the Bruniquel Magdalenian abris, as well as the Bruniquel Cave that includes evidence of Neanderthal activity.
The commune's shield depicts a red chevron above a ram's head on a green ground.
Since 1997 the castles have been the venue of an annual arts festival celebrating the works of Jacques Offenbach.
There is a scheduled bus service to Montauban.
- Eugène Martin-Chabot (ed.), La Chanson de la Croisade Albigeoise, (Paris, 1989)
- Detailed website about Bruniquel (in French)
- Bruniquel Tourism (in French)
- Picture of Mesolithic carving from Bruniquel cave
- Festival des Châteaux de Bruniquel site, for annual Offenbach festival
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