This week we have edition II of those supermodels of French villages, the ones that are post-card ready. They grace the covers of of travel magazines everywhere.
Last week we circled around Provence, Bugundy, and the Dordogne. This week we’re off to the Lot, which has way more than it’s share of Kodak moments (It seems we may need another installment someday, for the Côte d’Azur).
First up is Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (photo above), a tiny village near Cahors. Rachel mentioned in the comments and it was on my list as well. It’s precariously perched, be prepared for an interesting drive to get there.
Then there is that famous town of Rocamadour, spilling down the cliffs. Famous for centuries as a matter of fact, as it is a pilgrimage site. How, one wonders, did they even build it? The town is full of monastic sites, churches, and the sanctuary of the Blessed Mary. The tradition for the faithful was to mount the steps, from the base at the Dordogne River, on your knees. At right, it’s pictured on a poster (photo from photorail.fr).
I see the shot belowt SO often, which is taken from the Perigord Noir (photo from meteocity.com). I’ve been, and I want to go back! There is a little boat you can take to make the trip between Beynac-et-Cazenac and La Rogue-Gageac, and catch the view of the medieval Château de Beynac high up on the hill. The towns are on the Dordogne river.
Can’t resist one more iconic photo. I’ve stood on this spot and marveled, more than once. It’s the view of the Dordogne River you will see if you walk to the top of the charming bastide town of Domme and peer over the edge. A peaceful spot except in August, when you will have to fight your way through masses of les touristes (photo below, redbubble.com).
In the COMMENTS: For more beautiful villages, Susan mentions the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France designation, 157 villages chosen by an association started in 1982 by a French mayor. You can see the list here, along with planned village-viewing routes. Beth metions an old article, "In Search of the Perfect French Village" from National Geographic Traveler, which sadly I could not find on-line but I did find Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips by the same publisher, with contributions by the same author. Meanwhile Ann is just back from Semur, and Mary James (of Mary James en Provence), we've always said exactly the same thing about Gordes. Maria, I hope you get to see them all some day!
Favorite BLOGS: A new one I've discovered, by one of our readers: Eileen's Travel Adventures. Eileen, a self-described travel addict, takes small groups to interesting places. Like an upcoming trip to Tuscany, Umbria, and Rome. Do check out her site.
And even if you're not an American in France you will like Jeff Steiner's Americans in France, which has all sorts of useful info about living in, or just traveling to, France.
Michel Sablet has a house in the Vaucluse (which they rent out sometimes), and his blog post this month at Our House in Provence is all about the very pretty town of Uzes, which happens to be a favorite spot of ours when we want to take a quick trip down south.
Favorite READS: reader Sue Wallace absolutely raves about Edward Rutherford's Paris: The Novel , and Natalia agrees. This is the next book I will read (oh for more time to curl up with a good novel!) Meanwhile reader Mel is taken with Adam Gropnik's Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (and if there's anyone who writes prettier than Adam Gopnik, I don't know who it is).
Gee, I've run out of space and there's no room for a recipe. Next week, then!