Perched at an altitude of over 180m on a hill overlooking the Lot valley, the medieval town of Pujols, a former Albigensian stronghold, has survived the centuries and wars while preserving its typical character with its remains of the walls and castle, fortified gates...
A bit of history...
Very early men settled in Pujols. The Gauls and the Romans settled there. The importance of this Roman settlement is confirmed by the discovery of four Gallo-Roman cemeteries in the valley near the town.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, the invasions of the Vandals, Visigoths, Saracens and Normans created a permanent state of insecurity. The populations had to reinforce their positions; these first fortifications were structured and a powerful fortress was built at the end of the plateau which is still called "Le Palay" today.
At the end of the 11th century, Pujols was one of the most important strongholds of the Agenais. It belonged in fief to Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, as a reward for services rendered to the Catholic cause. He was, however, the greatest lord to defend Catharism. As a result of the Albigensian crusade, the citadel was completely razed to the ground.
Its inhabitants found refuge in the Lot valley, where in 1251, Alphonse de Poitiers allowed them to build a bastide which was the "Villa Nova de Poujols"... Today... Villeneuve-sur-Lot!
After many vicissitudes, after the revolution, in 1824, the castle, abandoned by its owners, needed very expensive repairs. The mayor and the town council accepted the offer of a contractor to sell the stones to carry out a financial operation of 1800 gold francs in order to enlarge the former abbey of Eysses, which had become a prison in 1803.
Thus, with the ramparts already demolished in 1829, the castle sold around 1830-1850, the powerful fortress was nothing but an illusion!
Recently restored and classified as one of the "most beautiful villages in France", Pujols le Haut is trying to regain its former lustre and prestige...
A very rich heritage...
In Pujols you must visit the remains of the castle, the old ramparts, the gate of the Saint-Nicolas bell tower, the English gate and the access to the former Lère gate.
The Saint-Nicolas Church (former chapel and collegiate church), which dates from the 16th century, in flamboyant gothic style.
The half-timbered houses in the rue de la citadelle are also worth a visit, as is the Bailiff's House, which dates from the 15th century. It is the highest in the village. It was built entirely of stone, unlike the other half-timbered houses of the same period.
The Sainte-Foy-la-Jeune church, built (late 15th - early 16th century) to replace the Sainte-Foy-la-Vieille church located in the valley (destroyed in the 19th century). Its high altar was consecrated in 1597. The building was sold during the French Revolution, then reused from 1795 to 1821.
In flamboyant Gothic style, this building is especially remarkable for the mural paintings it holds.
They date from the 16th century for those of the choir, from 1460/1480 for those of the north chapel, and are classified as historical monuments.
It was at the end of the 19th century that these paintings were rediscovered by Abbot Gerbeau who attempted a start of restoration.
There are representations of the tree of Jesse, the martyrdom of St. Blaise, the martyrdom of St. Beard ... But also, the Assumption of the Virgin, or St. George slaying the dragon.
With three buildings listed as "Historic Monuments", the old medieval town of Pujols is classified as "one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France", and the Grand Villeneuvois agglomeration has been labelled "Pays d'Art et d'Histoire" (Land of Art and History) since the end of 2012. This label, awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, rewards areas that work to promote and preserve their heritage.
Pujols le Haut is a stopover on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela.
Also worth seeing, with more than 200 toys to contemplate and try out, is the Rustic Toy House which welcomes you to the town of Pujols all year round. Admission is free.
Town Hall of Pujols
PO BOX 310
Tel: 05 53 70 16 13
Tourism Information Point
Tel : 05 53 36 78 69