Classified among "The most beautiful villages of France", Saint-Jean-de-Côle is located in New Aquitaine, in the Dordogne department. It takes place in the district of Nontron and takes its name from Saint Jean-Baptiste (the name of the Church) and from La Côle, the river that crosses it.
Built in the 12th century, the Château de la Marthonie protected the church and its priory. Despite this, the village suffered from the English invasion during the 100 Years War and when it was taken over by the French royal troops. Today the castle dates from the 15th and 17th centuries and is currently being restored.
The arrival of the railway line between Angoulême and Brive in the 19th century brought a new demographic boost to Saint-Jean-de-Côle, but only during the works.
Today turned towards tourism, the town has an important architectural heritage, as well as a certain charm. With its ocher houses and brown tiled roofs, the village of Saint-Jean-de-Côle seems to have stood the test of time with the same elegance and the same beauty.
Listed as an historic monument, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church is the former priory church of Saint-Jean-de-Côle. Built in the 12th century, it has the singularity - among other things - of not having a nave. Outside, 75 modillions (small sculptures representing plants or characters) can be found under the roofs of the chapels.
The building is also preceded by a charming little hall. The church is open to the public all year round.
Only open during Heritage Days and group visits from 20 people (by reservation at the Tourist Office), the priory initially built in the 11th century was destroyed during the 100 Years War, rebuilt in the 15th century, it is now partially classified as an historic monument.
While passing through Saint-Jean-de-Côle, do not miss to admire the old 12th century bridge classified as an historic monument, the narrow streets beautifully flowered as well as half-timbered houses built in the 14th century.
Also listed as a Historic Monument, the Château de la Marthonie, built in the 12th century and destroyed during the 100 Years War, rebuilt in the 15th and 17th centuries. These exteriors as well as the grand staircase and the large 17th century living room (fully restored) can be seen during guided tours organized by the Tourist Office from July to mid-September, every day at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The green way, formerly the railway line, offers seventeen kilometers of hiking (from Thiviers to St Pardoux the river) to stroll and admire the surroundings and the beautiful village that is Saint-Jean-de-Côle. It is also the start (or finish!) Of the Flow Vélo
The second weekend of May, see the famous Floralies of Saint-Jean-de-Côle arrive during which the medieval village is adorned with thousands of flowers.
In June, the Musicôle festival offers several concerts in the village.