Saint Cirq Lapopie

Perched 300 feet above the Lot River in France, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is a medieval gem renowned for its enchanting beauty. Cobblestone streets wind through stone houses, while panoramic views of the Lot Valley captivate. An artistic haven and gastronomic delight, it marries timeless charm with captivating landscapes, inviting all to savor its allure.

Art

The art and architecture of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie captures the medieval village’s charm and natural beauty. You will experience extraordinary prehistoric cave paintings in the caves of Pech Merle. See first hand there the perfectly preserved 10,000 y.o. footprint of the youth who walked in the dark through the mud. Visit Maison Breton, the home of the founder of Surrealism which is newly converted to an arts center. It will captivate your imagination with its creative installations and historic presence as the oldest house in Saint Cirq. You will tour the Henri Martin Museum to enjoy post-Impressionist paintings of Saint Cirq from an hundred years ago. Little has changed! Finally tour the architecture of the village and enjoy the works of local, modern artists. Just walk the Tow Path by the River Lot to see the outdoor art installations along the way! The works of the many artists living now in Saint Cirq illuminate the timeless allure of the village, where creativity continues to intertwine with history and landscape.

History

Perched above the Lot River, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was once a strategic fortress, with three castles perched atop the cliff. The formidable and iconic bastide gate “Porte de Rocamadour” welcomes you upon arrival. Enter and walk back though time. Your tour starts in the nearby “big city” (pop.25000) of Cahors, where you will encounter a Roman amphitheater revealed when excavating for a subterranean parking lot. Walk the Pont Valentre perfectly-preserved, fortified medieval bridge in Cahors, built with a pact with the devil. Near the vibrant town market inside the medieval St Étienne Cathedral you will find tranquil, ancient cloisters. See where King Henri IV lived during the Wars of Religion. The very short door tells us how short he was! Tour the Chateau Cenevieres where the family patriarch will guide us though its historic chapters including a alchemists chamber.

Culture

Culture

The weekly fresh produce markets of France are the primary place for local shopping. You will visit two of the liveliest local markets: Cahors which is quite large and Limogne which is smaller and more local, but equally fun. Either might include street musicians and tasty delights to enjoy while shopping. While weekly markets celebrate fresh produce, there is also a variety of other markets for 2nd hand items that range in quality and sophistication from “Vide Greniers” (translates as ‘empty the attic,’ like a garage sale) to “brocante” (quality, collectible items like you might find at an estate sale). There are big bargains to be found! You never know what treasures you might want to take home. As an example, antique, embroidered, linen, tea towels are easy to find and make great gifts. You can walk the Tow Path on the beautiful Lot or ride an electric bike through the countryside. Take the cruise from the village downriver and travel through the hand operated locks. Or hike any of a number of beautiful trails. The night before the private tours of Pech Merle and Chateau Cenevieres, professional experts will lead salons to engage and prepare us.

Food & Wine

You are in the land of sunflowers, foie gras, saffron, walnuts and Malbec wine. The regional cuisine is rich in local flavors. Our private chef will create dishes to tantalize your palate. Imagine Cassoulet or duck confit followed by a dessert of walnut cake or “Gateau de Noix” or “Pastis,” a regional apple pastry. Artisanal cheeses like Cabecou and an extraordinary variety of fresh, crusty breads and pastries complete the tableau. Before dinner most evenings in a lovely private garden, you will enjoy “Apero,” or French Happy Hour. Led by a professional, taste the “Black Wine of Cahors,” a Malbec only grown in our region of France. Long before Bordeaux dominated the market, it was prized by kings and popes. Or enjoy a light and lively local Rose. There is always something to savor with “canapés,” or “sofas” in English, hors dcrackers topped with savory treats. Finally, dine on an incomparable 5-course meal in the newly remodeled manor home of Noubar our local Cordon Bleu chef.