St. Cirq Lapopie along the Cleré river
Stage Five: We left the next day following the Dordogne east towards Souillac and Rocamadour, leaving the region of Dordogne and entering its poorer, not-as-well known brother region of Lot. Rocamadour is a lovely place that’s built into the side of a large cliff face and was our first stop within Lot. We visited it from the top first, taking in the great views from the chateau ramparts. If you are not fond of heights, you may want to skip this. You can take a funicular ride down into the village, or drive around and go by car. We made our way along the cliff’s edge to where the road descends to the lower part of the village, stopping along the way at L’Esplanade for lunch. You’ll see their large parking area before you descend, offering great views looking back at the village. We enjoyed a salad each and crepes for dessert. Food was good but the viewing looking back really made it worthwhile. In the village it can get quite busy as this is a rather popular spot.
We continued to St. Ceré, a lovely village along the Bave river that has been wonderfully restored with some lovely medieval age homes. Also a nice walkway along the river. Not a bad place to stop for lunch. We then headed to south to Greves where we would be staying for the night. Our hotel Le Grezalide, is a restored chateau with extra rooms added in an adjacent building. It seems to be a popular place for people to use as a base to explore the region on foot and by bike. Not many people there when we were there, but it seems to be very popular. I can now understand why I had a hard time finding a decent hotel in Figeac; I don’t think there are any. Figeac seems to be suffering from a downturn in their economy. It’s a medieval town and quite obvious by the buildings in the village, but lacking character and charm.
The Cleré river from St. Cirq
We got up early the next day and drove down the highway along the Cleré river towards Cahors. A lovely drive inside a canyon that has been carved out by the Cleré, with some lovely small villages, many built into cliffs with homes that have a back wall that is the cliff itself. St. Cirq Lapopie is the nicest of the all, set above the Cleré river, providing panoramic views of the valley. The village itself is picturesque and has some great shops (be sure to check out the Museé de Vin) and restaurants. A good place to stop for lunch and get some great view photos.
From here we drove into Toulouse for lunch and to walk its many pedestrian streets. A great city, one we need to return to and explore some more. We caught an 8PM flight back to Nice and were glad to be back in our bed and have access to new clothes.
The villages that stand out most, that the musts to do in the Dordogne, are Beynac and Sarlat. Beynac for the castle, valley view and the quaintness of the village, Sarlat for just a great medieval town to stroll around that has really been done up and kept up well. There’s a lot of history in both that is worth following.
St. Cirq Lapopie
St. Cirque Lapopie
View from chateau of St. Cirq
St. Cirq and Cleré river
View from chateau of Rocamadour
Medieval homes built into the cliffs of the river Cleré
The Cleré river from St. Cirq