St Cirq Lapopie
Within an hour’s drive of Perigord Retreats, you’ll find the quaint medieval village of St Cirq Lapopie nestled into the cliff face around 300 feet above the river Lot. It hosts 13 historically listed buildings and is renowned as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
There are some beautiful views to be seen from around the village, whether that be looking up towards it from the other side of the river Lot, or down upon it from the panoramic viewpoints provided from the old castles.
During the middle ages, the region was controlled by the feudal dynasties of 3 main families – the Lapopies, the Cardaillacs and the Gourdons (yes, the same as the town we live in). As a result, the village has become dominated by fortified houses and castles built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries by the different families. Even now, there remains the fortified castle gates at the bottom of the village, put there to provide protection to the villagers.
Today, there remains many of the historical buildings, which have been tastefully renovated to keep all of the charm and character.
Even outside of the village boundaries, there is rich history to be discovered in the form of ports, locks, mills, dams and towpaths, which serve as a reminder of the historical river commerce.
Santiago de Compostela
Passing close-by is the world famous pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela (on the UNESCO World Heritage List). It is a large network of routes leading from all over Europe to the Cathedral in Santiago Compostela in northwest Spain, where the remains of Saint James the Great are rumoured to be buried.
Saint Cirq Lapopie was an integral village as part of this route, as it provided food, shelter and warmth for pilgrims during its most popular years. comparisons could be drawn between the holiday seasons now and the pilgrimage seasons historically.
Luckily, this route passes through several of our favourite painting locations, so you’ll have more than one opportunity to see it in real-life.