Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Lot department in southern France, is a cliff hanger of a village – quite literally.
Perched on a cliff top, the River Lot curls its way along the bottom of the limestone cliff. From the top, the canoeists and kayakers who paddle their way down look tiny. Here’s what to see in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie:
This town, a jewel of the Dordogne Valley, is small but perfectly formed. Once a castle crowned its heights, perfect for seeing long distances, it made Saint-Cirq-Lapopie a defensive stronghold. Built in the 8th century by the Duke of Aquitaine, the castle became the property of the Lapopie family and did its job well.
Even Richard the Lionheart couldn’t capture it. It worked too well in fact, and afraid that it would fall into enemy hands one day and never be retrieved, Louis XI of France ordered its destruction in 1471.
Where the castle once stood you can enjoy spectacular views over the countryside.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (pronounced Saint ‘Sear’) is a Plus Beau Village, officially one of the prettiest villages in France. And, it’s been voted Favourite Village of the French. It’s not hard to see why. This authentic little village is teeming with medieval half-timbered old houses tumbling along steep narrow streets built into the side of the cliff – it has oodles of charm. A tangle of dry stone walls, 15th century church, a windmill and an air of yesteryear enchant visitors including Surrealist poet André Breton and artist Man Ray who bought houses here.
Once renowned for its craftsmen wood-turners, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is still a village of artists.
Head to the bottom of the village for a 3 mile walk along the river. You’ll be glad to know it’s flat, and well worth the effort for the beautiful scenery.
What to see close by
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is in one of the most beautiful parts of France and surrounded by many beautiful villages and towns set in glorious countryside
Sarlat – a time warp town that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time…
Rocamadour – a cliff top marvel
Bergerac – medieval wine town that’s well worth a visit
Cordes-sur-Ciel – the little town with its head in the clouds
Villefranche-de-Rouergue a medieval town on the Pilgrimage route with a marvellous weekly market…