The time of the Abbesses

The time of the Abbesses

Heritage site and architecture
Embed this item to access it offline
This interpretation trail details the eventful history of the former Abbey of Bonnesaigne.
Around 730, as Limousin became Christian, Duke Eudes of Aquitaine founded a priory at Bonnesaigne. In 1160, it became an abbey which applied the rule of St Benoit. This Abbey would later have an eventful history that will end with the destruction of this building. Following these events, the villagers used the remains as a stone quarry. We invite you to join us in searchingfor the stones that are still visible on the façades of some of the houses

4 points of interest

  • History

    The sheep's head

    In 1865, the young abbess Catherine de Chabannes de Curton fled the Abbey in the face of the murderous madness of Frances Charles de Coligny's Admiral's army. The reused stones of the facades lend themselves to imagining the legend that surrounds this episode.
    "Catherine is grazing her flock of sheep when she hears in the distance the sounds of hooves, armour, men and horses. Desperately worried, she runs to the Abbey…"

  • Heritage site

    The keys

    Arriving at the Abbey, Catherine seizes the key hidden in the surrounding wall, opens the secret door, enters the courtyard and looks for her friends, the nuns.
    The sound of their singing leads her directly to the church, she opens the heavy door and shouts "the soldiers are coming... They are at our door... We must flee from their murderous madness. Run, sisters, follow me".
    All the nuns fled, letting themselves be guided by the fluent voice of the water from the Fontaine du Barry.

  • History


    Arriving in front of the fountain, not knowing where to go, Catherine kneels down, raises her eyes to the heavens and says these few words:
    "Water from where we do not know, tell me where we nuns must go…"
    Despair grew among the nuns; the lapping of the water does not break the strange silence disturbed by the muffled sound of the horses' hooves: the threat is getting closer. That is when Catherine whispers:
    "Water on every side, only you can be my guide."
    The water from the fountain suddenly gushes out, forms a stream and responds:
    "Come down to my courtyard and listen to the stone in the wall, only it can speak to you and guide you."

  • Small patrimony


    Passing the fountain, a voice from the right calls out to Catherine. As she gets closer to the house, she sees a face come alive in the thickness of the wall. She immediately recognises Sainte-Marie, protector of the Abbey, who says to her:
    "You and your friends are out of danger here; go to your left until you can see the whole Abbey, retrace your steps and go down there quickly."


Departure from the edge of the D47 (sheep's head on the house opposite the departure panel). Go back north towards the D1089.

  1. At the crossroads, follow the D45 towards Combressol. After the last house, take the path on the right.
  2. At the end of the path, follow the road to the right then to the left (key on the outbuilding). Go past the bread oven, continue and then take the uphill path on the left.
  3. At the top, go right for 100 metres. Turn right on the path going down. Pass the fountain. At the house (with a head on the wall), take a round trip (50 m) to the right to the viewpoint. Go back to the crossroads and turn right (note the cross on the house) to reach the starting point.
  • Departure : On the edge of the D47
  • Arrival : On the edge of the D47
  • Towns crossed : Combressol


Altimetric profile


A game booklet is available at tourist information offices.

Information desks

1 place de L'Hôtel de ville, 19250 Meymac 19 60 00 30

Access and parking

On the D1089, follow the D47 coming from Egletons or the D47E2 coming from Ussel, in the direction of Palisse. Continue on the D47 in Bonnessagne; the departure point is at the side of the road towards the edge of the village.

Parking :

On the edge of the D47

More information

Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: