France - Lot Valley

Here is a quick overview of a few of our favorite spots from our week in the Lot Valley.


The name is said to come from Roc (cliff in the local Occitan language) and Amadour, who might have been either a saint, a hermit or the bishop of a nearby diocese.  One of the most visited sites in France, Rocamadour is a cluster of chapels and churches built on the side of a cliff. The main monument is the pilgrimage church of Notre Dame, whose altar contains a wooden Black Madonna supposedly carved by Saint Amadour himself.  Rocamadour has attracted pilgrims for centuries.

Turenne is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France and was was located just north of Sarrazac where we were staying.  Turenne is a popular tourist destination thanks to its height and unique position on top of a cliff but the funny thing is Kingsley and I actually stumbled upon it by accident when we went for an afternoon drive.  The town is full of beautiful windings streets, old buildings and castle ruins.

La Roque Gageac

We took a little day trip here with Graham and Lesley and I just fell in love with this lovely town built along the river in a limestone cliff.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at Le Patio - a small restaurant located right along the main street. The food was very good, Kingsley and I had the set lunch chicken kebabs which was delicious and quite filling.


Chateau Castelnaud has a rich past that goes back to the 12th century.

While the feudal fortress was considered impregnable, it was conquered by Simon de Montfort in 1214, during the crusade against the Albigensiens. Situated in English territory, the castle and village were rival to Beynac castle, which remained loyal to the king of France during the 100 years war. Considered as "the strongest rampart of Perigord" Chateau Castelnaud was involved in all of the religious battles. From the 17th century on however this austere citadel was abandoned in favour of more welcoming dwellings and gradually fell to ruin.


Martel is a gorgeous little town that was about a 20 minute drive south from the Corlac house.  The town, unusually for this part of France, didn't begin as a religious center or a military defensive site. It began due to its position at a crossroads of trade on an east-west route carrying salt and wine. It is also close to Rocamadour and so became an important stopping place for pilgrimages. One afternoon Cally and I visited Martel together and had a quick little peak into a few of the shops.  We stopped for  a glass of wine and some lovely foie gras in town which was one of my favorite meals I had the entire time I was in France. 

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