Abbatiale de Solignac : Michelin's recommendations
Born in 588 at Chaptelat, St Eligius learned the trade of goldsmith in the workshops of Limoges before travelling to Paris to work for the king's treasurer. His talents and probity gained the attention of Clotaire II, who made him his treasurer, but it was due to the confidence in him of good King Dagobert, that St Eligius was able to use his talents as minister. Though titular bishop of Noyon, St Eligius felt the call of his native countryside and asked the king to grant him land at Solignac on which to found a monastery where he could die in peace. The king accepted Eligius' request. The abbey was built on a grand scale from the start, but in spite of its fortifications, could not escape the depredations of the Normans, Saracens, English and Huguenots, each of whom plundered it in turn. All that remains today is the church. Dating from the first half of the 12C, it is the Limousin church which is most influenced by the local Périgord style of architecture. As you walk round the north side, admire the harmony of the construction: large buttresses, recessed columns and decorative bases. Upstairs, a series of windows and blind trefoils illustrate the influence of Mozarabic tradition. Inside, the main body of the church is covered with vast semicircular domes and the walls are adorned with blind arcading. Look out for the carved capitals and the 15C stalls.