Approaching from the suggested route, we could not see the village until we made the turn around a sharp corner and there it was in front of us. The sky brightened and we stopped on the side of the road to get a photo of this amazing site. There it was, a town, cathedral and chateau built into the rock wall of the valley. The back walls of many of the buildings, especially the cathedral, are actually the wall of the cliff.
After exiting the elevator, we found the Church of the Holy Savior and the Crypt of Saint Amadour. This location is another site on the Pilgrimage to Compostello and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I never knew these pilgrims had so many stops along the way from where ever they came from.
St. Amadour really wasn't a saint. In the 12th century the completely intact body of a man was found buried in the side of the cliff as the townsfolk were constructing the church. He was re-buried and named Amandour which is an old French language name for "The Lover" (Amoureux). Somehow he became a saint over time. Not sure how. His body was venerated in the crypt until 1562 when it was dismembered by the Hugennots. What was left is in the church. It is interesting to know that those people like the Hugennots and the Capetians actually existed and were not just figures in our Western Civ books.
Through that portal was the church. You can see it is built right into the wall and the back wall of each of these buildings is solid rock. This reminded us a bit of Escher's staircases.
There is a Black Madonna in the chapel of the church.
And the wall behind the huge organ pipes is the cliffside.
On the climb to the top of the cliff, there were Stations of the Cross along the walk. It was a slow clmb to the top.
Seeing what we had for a descent back to the elevator, we decided to skip the entry into the chateau.