Photo of Saint-Jean-de-Cole

Visit Saint-Jean-de-Cole

Saint-Jean-de-Cole is a medieval village in the north of the Dordogne near to Brantome. It dates back to the 11th century.

Explore Saint-Jean-de-Cole

St Jean de Cole has been officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France (les plus beaux villages de France). A charming village with ochre coloured houses, including many half-timbered houses, and lovely tiled roofs. Indeed the roofs once won the ‘finest roofs in France’ competition.

Saint Jean de Cole

The village square, the Place de Saint Jean, is flanked on one side by the 12th century Chateau de la Marthonie. The castle has a XVth century part made up of towers and a donjon and is quite austere and added to this is a XVIIth century wing in a much softer style, built over a series of arches. One of its most famous residents was Mondot de la Marthonie who was a counselor to the Queen Mother of Francois I. He also built the nearby Chateau de Puyguilhem.

The chateau is open for visits in July and August and early September and you can explore the exterior, the monumental staircase and the ground floor rooms.

On another side of the square is the Romanesque Byzantine church of St Jean Baptist built in the XIIth century and with a quite unusual rounded shape. Have a look at the exterior where you can count 78 corbels which are the sculpted supports of the roof. These have been carved either to represent various types of vegetation, or, more interestingly figures which represent various different sins!


Next to the church and also in the main square is the halle with a large roof supported with wooden columns. All in all the square is very attractive. Sit and enjoy the view over a cup of coffee at the café!

The river Cole runs along one edge of the village and you can stop and admire it from the lovely little humpbacked bridge or the small river beach below.  The bridge dates back to the 12th century. This stretch of river is very green and tranquil. Along the edge of the village are various pretty houses and you can take a walk along the other side of the river.

From the other side of the river you can get a glimpse of another of the notable buildings in Saint Jean de Cole - the 12th century Priory and cloister.

Saint-Jean-de-Cole chateau

A good time to visit the village is during the weekend closest to the 8 May when they hold their annual flower fair. More than a hundred exhibitors display and sell their products and the mass of plants and flowers against the backdrop of this beautiful village is not to be missed.

There is a nice walk which passes through Saint Jean de Cole. The ancient railway line between Thiviers and Saint Pardoux la Riviere has been turned into a  17 kilometer 'Voie Verte' or 'green way'.

Where to visit nearby?

Worth seeing nearby are the stunning town of Brantome, the impressive Chateau de Puyguilhem and the caves and village of Villars.

See also: 

Photos of Saint-Jean-de-Cole

Click any picture to start the gallery

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Map of Saint-Jean-de-Cole and places to visit


Saint-Jean-de-Cole places to visit

Grotte de Villars

Grotte de Villars

A natural cave of stalactites and stalagmites with some Prehistoric drawings too.

Grotte de Villars guide


Thiviers is the capital of foie gras and has a foie gras museum.

Thiviers guide


Villars is home to a ruined abbey and the Grotte de Villars..

Villars guide
Chateau de Puyguilhem

Chateau de Puyguilhem

The Chateau de Puyguilhem is similar in style to the Loire Valley castles.

Chateau de Puyguilhem guide
La Chapelle Faucher

La Chapelle Faucher

La Chapelle Faucher is a quiet village with a pretty square.

La Chapelle Faucher guide
Saint Pardoux la Riviere

Saint Pardoux la Riviere

Saint Pardoux la Riviere is a pleasant village on the edge of the River Dronne.

Saint Pardoux la Riviere guide