This immaculately preserved village rests in a small valley dominated by the imposing limestone cliffs which mark the edge of the Causse, the foothills of the Massif Central. Autoire is a typically Quercynois village where architecture and natural surroundings are in perfect harmony. Following the lanes surrounding the village allows one to discover a number of modest but beautiful country houses that have been carefully restored to preserve the traditional style. Pigeon lofts, exposed beams, frontages in corbelling, mullioned windows and steeply sloping roofs of brown tiles.
These splendid houses bear witness to an age when Autoire, residence of bourgeoisie and nobility was called "le petit Versailles". The village has preserved its authenticity and is little changed today from ancient times. Agriculture is still the mainstay of the village surrounded as it is by lush green meadows, rows of vines and orchards of “prunes Reines Claudes”.
A charming village, resting undisturbed by the passage of time, that encourages the visitor to return and sometimes, to remain.
Nestled in the Lot department of southwest France, is a name familiar to travelers, as well as appreciators offine dining and rich history. One look at the restaurants, hotels and churches rising magically from the cliffs along the Alzou stream and it's no wonder this communal town is one of France's prime getaway locations and a very popular location toholiday in France.
The exquisite natural setting and beautiful buildings have made Rocamadour France's second-most visited site (after Mount St. Michael, (Normandy). Rocamadour, 36 miles north-northeast of Cahors and local to the Dordogne Valley, never fails to make a visual impression. But this quaint village is best known for its peerless cheesemaking, as well as the religious pilgrimages made each year by clerics and laypeople alike.
Rocamadour's religious roots are the source of the town's name. According to legend, St. Amadour, a witness to the martyrdom of St. Paul and St. Peter, traveled to the location and took up hermitage following his wife's death. The story might be part myth and part history, but the legend, beloved of locals, adds to Rocamadour's charm and magic.
Rocamadour's many churches and chapels have been greeted by pilgrims--including royalty--since medieval times. Where should today's travelers start? Visitors may want to begin at the most obvious place: St. Amadour's crypt. This quiet area of reflection is accessed down a stone staircase. The crypt, built into the rock, is an ideal place for devotion and contemplation, according to visitors.
Carennac is a marvellously picturesque village on the banks of the Dordogne river. The town existed as early as the 11th century, although its history dates back to neolithic times. You can still see the ancient village fortifications, and the priory and church. St Peters Church is worth entering to take a look at the medieval cloisters.
The perfect houses in Carennac are in the local white-yellow stone (bring your camera - it is very photogenic) and the single lane bridge entering the village adds further to the charm. Many of the houses feature interesting and ornate windows.
Many of the houses have been lovingly restored, and one or two of the houses have simply beautiful wooden balconies. There is also a delightful 'Rapunzel' tower to discover while you are walking around the narrow streets. When we visited the town was not inundated with tourists, which also counts in its favour!
There is also a castle in which Fenelon wrote his 'Adventures of Telemachus', and where you can also see an exhibition which explains the history of the town and region.
In Carennac it is hard to believe you are still in the 21st century - try and visit
Perched on a promontory that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Dordogne valley and the surrounding castles, Loubressac invites visitors to discover its charming medieval houses built of ochre stone and capped with pointed roofs. The church of Saint Jean Baptiste and the château, a manor dating back to the 15C and 18C, are worth the short climb it takes to reach them.
The village of Cardaillac, firmly anchored on its rocky outcrop in Haut Quercy, takes its name from the feudal family that built it and brought notoriety and prosperity to the area. Two famous Lords of Cardaillac were Guillaume V founder of the abbey of Leyme and Marques who defended Quercy during the hundred year war.
Cardaillac is situated in a beautiful wooded landscape intersected with small secluded valleys. This fortified village has the appearance of a miniature castle with its three stone towers.
Once through the doorway that gives access to the plateau on which the village is perched, one is transported back into the Middle Ages. Narrow lanes with a central gutter curve between houses built of ochre coloured stone from the Quercy. Many details of the architecture remain undisturbed, or have been carefully restored to maintain the unique atmosphere and historical feel to the village.
The village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie is perched on a cliff 100 m above the river and is one of the major beauty spots of the Lot valley.
In the Middle-Ages, Saint-Cirq Lapopie was the main town of one of the four viscounties that made up the Quercy.
It was divided between four feudal dynasties, the Lapopies, Gourdons, Cardaillacs and Castelnaus. Because of this, the Lapopie fortress was made up of a number of castles and towers overlooking the village.
Please take a look at the following website: www.visit-dordogne-valley.co.uk