Vive La France

Follow us as we travel around the Dordogne, Lot & Languedoc regions of France

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 17 - Autoire, Loubressac, Castelnau Chateau, Carennac, Rocamadour

Up at 6:30am today to get a good start. We're going to a lot of beautiful villages. Weather is partly cloudy and cooler than the first several days of trip. Very pleasant for walking around.

First up was Autoire, a small hilltop town, one of TMBVF's, with a short break to talk to some cows and bulls. On the roadside was this herd just across a fence. So we stopped. These were the most curious cows and bulls ever. Mooing and moving towards us as we approached the fence. The calves stayed back, but the rest kept coming. They came right up to the fence and we were able to pet them. Just a great pastoral sight and great start of the day.

We got to Autoire a few minutes later and ambled around admiring the 14th century buildings and squares, churches (as in all of these villages) that look unchanged from when they were built. This one had a 'Rapunzel' tower.

We then drove about 10 km to the village of Loubressac, and then Castelnau de Bretenoux. This 11C castle was bought and restored in the 19C by a famous opera singer. It is stunning to look at.

After the castle tour we drove to another beautiful village called Carennac, with beautifully restored homes from the16C. This town is on the Dordogne River where we plan to take a canoe ride later next week.

It was getting late, about 5pm, so we decided to head to our hotel in Rocamadour. This hotel is gorgeous. The owners live on the property in a magnificent home and they restored a stable into the hotel rooms. Everything is perfect; we have a lovely room overlooking the grounds.

We were tempted to just stay in this evening and enjoy the beautiful peaceful surroundings, but hunger called (again!) so we drove into Rocamadour, about a 10 min drive. Fortunately most of the day trippers were gone and we were able to get our pick of parking and restaurants. We ate at a restaurant that overlooked the mountainside with a view of the church and steps that the pilgrims took to worship at this site. We stayed to watch the town get lit up at 10. We saw a spectacular sight and only hope our pictures come out as well.

We plan to get up early to see the church and lower town at the best time of day, sunrise, before the tourist buses arrive.

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