A deep and diversified
Religious heritage

Cantal is one of the departments most often quoted when it comes to Romanesque art. As well as this aspect, the department also boasts churches in a wide variety of styles and a vast array of furnishings from different periods. The region’s religious treasures also include wayside crosses, calvaries and oratories. Step inside the walls of some remarkable buildings in the Hautes Terres du Cantal region.

Stunning works of art

Beauty and splendour: characteristics of churches in the Hautes Terres region

Churches are both places of worship and places of conservation, bearing witness to the ancestral skills of their builders. Since the 12th century, successive generations have left a legacy of their knowledge and skills, and their vision of the world. 

The sculpted cornice brackets in our churches, depicting human heads and animals (in Allanche, Vernols, Sainte-Anastasie and Dienne), as well as the details of the Gothic porches adorned with fleurons, for example in the church of Saint-André in Massiac or Notre-Dame des Oliviers in Murat, are examples of this meticulous craftsmanship.

Cornice brackets on the church of Dienne

Open bell towers 

One of the distinctive features of our Cantalien churches

These open bell towers, which are so perfectly in harmony with our churches, combine simplicity with robustness, displaying their bells as they do in the churches of Chalinargues, Moissac, Fortuniès and Chastel-sur-Murat. The advantage was that they could be built at very little cost.

Also known as “wall belfries”, they form an imposing façade. Some even have an outside staircase so that the bells can be rung!

Eglise de Moissac

Open bell tower on the church of Dienne

A lavish array of furniture, statues and decorations 

Testimonials to the skills of our ancestors and craftsmen

The history of the furniture, statues, carved stone and stained-glass windows will delight visitors who step through the doors of these buildings. Baroque art has embellished our churches, with magnificent gilded wooden altarpieces in Bredons, Murat and Allanche

A genuine evolution in sculpted statues, whether in wood, stone or polychrome plaster, from the 12th century to the 19th century, helped to embellish our buildings. 

The sculptures on the capitals are modest for the most part, with little ornamentation and no excess: this purity is typical of Cantalien churches, which must above all be functional and adapted to the mid-altitude mountain environment.

High altar in the church of Notre-Dame des Oliviers in Murat

Exploring these buildings

Follow the guides !

If you would like to visit some of our churches, please contact our tourist offices. Some churches that are isolated or have been looted are closed depending on the season. 

If you would like to take a tour to discover Romanesque art, an audio guide is available for hire departing from Murat.

A tourist map is also available on request from our reception areas. 


Church of Saint-Jean Baptiste in Allanche