Upper Lot and the Quercy
The upper Lot department just touches the Dordogne, and is more gentle and rural and far less built upon. It is resplendent in forests, valleys and pastures. This is the home of the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park; an unspoilt area of grasslands grazed by sheep, cattle and goats. This region showcases the essence of the paysan lifestyle.
One of the most visited sites in France from ancient to modern times. This magnificent cascading hillside town, once overwhelmed by pilgrims (including Kings and Nobles) from the 12th century, who came to see the monuments and worship the sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The town lies below the complex of monastic churches set against the cliff face. The gravity-defying structures and fabulous architecture make Rocamadour a veritable ‘must’ to see.
Elsewhere, towns such as Autoire, Carennac and Martel, that occupy the upper Lot department, have their own Gallic charm. Some with ancient market places lying within historic villages, some set on top of elevated heights or in secluded valleys, are a pleasure to amble through.
The Lot and River Cahors
The deep Lot river is open to navigation in two sections, the upper and lower Lot. With several locks along its course, a small amount of pleasure boats pass along its quiet riverways. The Region’s capital town Cahors was a Celtic stronghold up until the Roman invasion in 50 BC where some ruins of this past empire are still visible today.
A popular attraction is the Pont Valentre that spans the Lot river. Built between 1308-78 and unique because three Gothic towers exist along its span.
Modern day Cahors is home to its famous ‘black wines’, produced since the middle ages and exported long before Bordeaux developed its own wine industry.
Recently crowned as one of France’s most beautiful villages, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a spiralling hilltop dwelling-place, remains faithful to the spirit of the Lot; set in unspoilt green wilderness. It is accessed by tightly winding roads as well as by foot along a carved ‘umbrella’ of cliff that follows the Lot river footpath from nearby Bouzies.
A Gothic church, built atop a Roman chapel, with just 200 inhabitants below, a museum perched on the edge of a cliff….the wonder of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is just a short drive from Cahors.