Couffouleux lies opposite Rabastens, on the other side of a bridge straddling the River Tarn. The town popped up relatively recently and owes its development to the arrival of the Toulouse to Paris railway during the time of the Second Empire and the opening of a station there in 1864.
Couffouleux, where everything converges
The commune of Couffouleux is where the River Agoût flows into the River Tarn, hence the name Couffouleux, which derives from the Latin for ‘confluence’. The only problem with the name is that people have never been able to decide whether it should be spelt with one ‘f’ or two. So both Couffouleux and Coufouleux are now acceptable.
Couffouleux lies right next door to Rabastens… All you have to do to get there is cross the bridge. But whether you’re in Couffouleux or Rabastens. the views are still magnificent. A free shuttle bus runs several times a day between the two town centres.
Couffouleux developed around its train station during the 19th and 20th centuries as it was an important hub for people from Rabastens. Four hamlets make up the commune – Saint-Pierre de Bracou, Sainte-Quitterie, Saint-Victor and Saint-Waast.
Each of these hamlets has its own church, with those at Saint Waast and Saint-Pierre de Bracou classified as historical monuments. Lying just 50 metres from the River Agoût, Saint-Waast (or Saint-Vast) has a small church that was built in the 12th century. It’s a fine example of the unsophisticated style of old Romanesque country churches.
The church was dedicated to Saint-Eparobius, known as ‘Cybard’. In the seventh century Saint-Cybard lived as a recluse in a cave that was situated beneath the northern rampart wall at Angoulême. His name was changed to Saint-Bas in the 17th century and he then became Saint-Waast in the middle of the 19th century.
The inside of the church is deliberately plain and, with its strong pillars and vaulted ceiling, is typical of an art form that rejects any form of vanity. The sole nave is made out of cut stone, while the semi-dome vaulted apse has retained its Romanesque window. At one time the central chancel with cross ribbed vaults dating from the 15th century supported a square bell tower, which in the 17th century was replaced by a brick bell tower with three openings up above the entrance. (338)
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