Moulin de Cougnaguet

Quercy Blanc

Cazenac - the village above Beynac Castle

History: Moulin de Cougnaguet

This Moulin de Cougnaguet was built in the 14th century by monks from a Cistercian abbey of Alix, which is just over a mile from Rocamadour.

Its construction lasted more than fifty years. Begun in 1292, the work was not completed until 1350. On July 19, 1778, the monks ceded the building to an individual. Now privately owned, the mill was listed as an Historic Monument in 1925 while operating until 1959.

This mill is built on a stream, “L’Ouysse“, initially underground, which follows an overland route of only 6 miled before flowing into the Dordogne. The water retention is 1,600 km long thanks to a dam 6 meters thick.

The front door, now walled up, was a half-closed arched door. It was accessed by a ford, the paving of which can still be seen in the water. In these troubled times of famines and looting, the monks had a good means of defense there.

It was enough to close the door and open the four valves inside the mill, causing a great flow of water to drown any attackers.

This mill is equipped with four grinding wheels of about 1.5 tonnes enclosed in a wooden casing and thanks to which it was possible to grind up to three tonnes of grain per day.

The Castle

Painting isn’t the only item on the agenda at the Moulin de Cougnaguet. We take a quick tour of the operational water mill (still using equipment that is centuries old). We then head upstairs. There you’ll see the living quarters with an interesting back story. We finish the tour with a little treat (i’ll leave this surprise for when you’re there).

Painting Cougnaguet

You won’t have a better opportunity to paint en plein air than at the Moulin de Cougnaguet. Guaranteed. It’s quiet and there are no distractions! No phone signal, no passers-by, no wind. More often than not, we have the place to ourselves. So if you’re a shy painter or don’t like distractions, you’re in luck!

What’s more, there are plenty of beautiful scenes to paint from the shade of the trees.

Cahors wine