Looking towards St Cere and the Dordogne Valley

St Cere

You are spoilt for choice if you want to explore wonderful historic towns and villages. The Lot and neighbouring departments, the Correze, Cantal and Aveyron all have their own identity. From our Bed & Breakfast you have easy access to each of these departments and the chance to experience the very different cultures that have evolved.

Locally and within a few kilometres of each other are the pretty medieval villages of Loubressac, Autoire, Carrenac, Curemonte, Collonges, Cardaillac and Turenne, all members of "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" . Each member of the association has been rigorously selected on the quality of their architecture, environment, and patrimony.

St. Céré (left) our local town is a typical market town with a lovely historic centre. Guests often comment how friendly and unaffected by tourism St. Céré is despite it fast becoming a centre for tourists to explore the surrounding area.There are restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and a "real" French market where you can buy anything from lovely cheeses and bread to pots and pans or a brand new bed if you have room in the car!St. Céré has a lovely outdoor swimming pool and several tennis courts and just a short distance outside a proper 9 hole golf course beside the Chateau de Montal.There are a good selection of shops including supermarkets if you need to stock up on anything.

AutoireAutoire
The manor of Latoque and the château of Limargue below the village. At the top, the Castle of Peyrusse de Banze, late 16th c, rises up above the brown-tiled roofs of the village. Autoire is located in a very beautiful valley which eventually leads to the spectacular cascades. For the energetic, a walk climbs the side of the valley to offer far-reaching views and the chance to see a wealth of wild flowers and the birds of prey that circle above the village.

CarennacCarennac
One of the most picturesque villages in France, overlooking the Dordogne, Carennac has hardly changed since the 16th century. The fine romanesque church Saint-Pierre has a stunning 12th century tympanum. The cloisters were rebuilt in the 15th century following the Hundred Years War. Stroll around the tiny streets with their leaning houses and over-hanging wooden balconies before lunch at the delightful creperie.

FigeacFigeac
The riverside town of Figeac has a wonderful market every Saturday morning. Founded by Bendictine Monks, the picturesque old quarter has many houses dating from the 12th to 18th century. A prosperous medieval town, it was an important stopping place for pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compestella.


Rocamadour
Reputed to be the second most visited site in France, this village is on many people's list of places to see. The English King Henry II came here to repent for the murder of Thomas a Beckett. His son pillaged it to pay his soldiers and died soon afterwards in nearby Martel. You can see more information on our separate page for Rocamadour.


Martel

Martel
Also know as the village with seven towers, Martel is definitely one of our favourites. The wonderfully preserved centre boasts many medieval buildings, notably in the Rue de Four-Bas which leads to the 13th to 16th century church Saint-Maur. On the Place des Consuls is the Palais de la Raymondie built around 1280 and the remarkable covered market with a chesnutwood framework and stone pillars - the old cereal measures can still be seen to one side.
Loubressac

Loubressac

The streets in bloom lead to a square in the shade where the 12 and 14 th c church rises. The village offers a vast view of the Dordogne and Bave valleys. Many trekking paths start from Loubressac to all the other hamlets in the vicinity. Also close by are the Caves at Padirac which are open to the public and contain underwater lakes and interesting cave formations.


Beaulieu sur Dordogne
Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne
Just inside the border of the Correze but only 30 minutes drive from the house, Beaulieu has one of the prettiest river frontages along the Dordogne. You can take a boat trip along the river or watch the many artists that set up their easels along the river bank to paint the wonderful reflections in the river.



TurenneTurenne
Between the remains of the castle and of the walls, a square keep and the round tower of Caesar still survive. Rich sandstone mansions lean up against the fortress. There are also 15th c rich mansions with pepper-mill shape towers. 2 religious monuments can be visited: a 16th c college church and chapelle des Capucins.

 

SalersSalers
Salers is one of the wonders of the Cantal. Its buildings are typical of a village established in the 15th c. with fragments remaining of the ancient walls and gates. The houses with “poivriere” roofs are flanked by corbelled towers. The road from Salers to Puy Mary is spectacular with immense views across the high mountains.


Argentat Argentat
A few kilometres upstream from Beaulieu, this village also has a picture postcard quay with cafes and restaurants. From here you can venture further up the Dordogne and follow its route as it carves its way through the steep valleys. There is a marvellous "street music" festival in Argentat each summer.

 

If the above are not enough to keep you occupied there are even more wonderful places to visit, including:

Cahors is the fascinating capital city of the Lot department with its famous medieval bridge the "Pont de Valentre" and the centre of the AOC wine region named after the town. Ever wondered who the "Gambetta" was that has a road named after him in virtually every French town? Well he is Cahors' most famous son, the one-eyed lawyer who during the Franco-Prussian War escaped in a hot-air balloon from the seige of Paris.

A recommended day trip in the car visits Figeac and then follows the beautiful valley of the Lot river passing a number of interesting villages to reach the picture-postcard medieval village of St Cirq Lapopie. A very popular destination, this village rises above the river and contains many well preserved buildings and a number of interesting artisan shops. The return journey follows the equally dramatic valley of the Cele river and passes through the historic village of Marcilhac.

For a different day out, the Lot has many spectacular caves open to the public. These aren't just dark holes in the ground but massive networks of caverns with extraordinary rock formations. The entrance to the giant Gouffre de Padirac is an impressive hole in the ground 77m deep and 99m in circumference and an underground boat ride takes you to the Grand Dome cavern which is 91m from top to bottom. A little further afield is the Grotte de Pech Merle, one of the finest Prehistoric sites in France. The paintings are as remarkable as Lascaux but here you can see them in the original!

If you visit Rocamadour, then we thoroughly recommend the bird of prey centre "Rocher des Aigles". Normally we don't support captive wild animals but this centre has an outstanding history of breeding endangered raptors and returning them to the wild. Plus the flying display is one of the most breathtaking you will see - guaranteed!

The "red" village of Collonges in the Correze and the remarkable village of Conques in the Aveyron are both about 1 hour by car.

For those willing to travel a little further you can reach the very popular towns of Sarlat and Domme in the Dordogne in about 90 minutes or even Bergerac in about 2 hours. For a complete change we can strongly recommend a trip into the Cantal to see the stunning "Parc Naturel Regional des Volcans" with its extinct volcanoes such as the famous Puy Mary.

 

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