Autoire, Midi-Pyrenees: tourism & sightseeing
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Autoire, a classified 'most beautiful village of France', is to the north-east of Rocamadour and in the north of the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrenees, so it is accessible from the eastern Dordogne or southern Auvergne if your visit is based in one of these regions.
The village is visited as much for the scenery of the cirque and waterfall next to Autoire as for the village itself so allow time for both!
The village is set in the attractive countryside of the region, with vineyards and fruit trees, forested hills and limestone cliffs looking down on the village and is a quiet, very attractive Quercy village in the traditional light stone of the area, with several colombage buildings.
The village isn't very large - a 'main street' through the centre and a small road that winds up the steep hill behind the village - but it is pretty close to perfect, with a lovely mix of houses and buildings around the central square and fountain, and a small church. One particular highlight is the Chateau de Limargue, a manor house of the 15th century with several turrets.
Behind the church of Saint-Pierre there is a small belvedere with views along the valley in which Autoire is situated. Many of the buildings have unusual and interesting features - keep an eye out especially for some lovely decorative stone windows.
It's hard to define the appeal of Autoire, but it is one of those villages that simply belong where they are, a lovely ensemble of traditional buildings in a lovely setting - hence the number of artists who tend to be attracted by the village. The village is best visited in spring, when it has a widespread reputation for the flowers that fill the streets and gardens.
There are also a couple of restaurants in Autoire - we had a good 'standard' lunch in one, while the other also has an outdoor terrace.
The most important attraction close to Autoire, and visible from the village, is the waterfall and the cirque d'Autoire, an impressive 30 metre high cascade in one of the gorges that split the land in the region, from which there are also fine views down the valley to the village below. Below the waterfall is a pretty, verdant pond.
One path leads to the 'Chateau des Anglais', the ruins of a 12th century castle that once defended the access to the village.
Other walks through the rocky landscape, where you will see small caves and splendid views of the village, are also recommended and climb up the hill through the centre of the cirque, so you are in the middle of the 'horseshoe' of the cirque with a very lovely view down to the village in the valley below.
You might like to visit nearby Chateau de Montal (perhaps best known as home to the Mona Lisa during World War 2) and Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux after you have finished exploring Autoire.
Map of Autoire and places to visit
Visit near Autoire with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Lot
Autoire is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Autoire, Saint-Céré, Figeac, Lot, Midi-Pyrenees, 46400, France || GPS: latitude 44.855, longitude 1.82
Plan your visit to Autoire, Midi-Pyrenees
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Loubressac: most beautiful village (2km)
- Chateau Montal: national monument (3km)
- Castelnau-Bretenoux Chateau: national monument (5km)
- Gouffre de Padirac: site of natural beauty (5km)
- Eglise de Saint Pierre (Carennac): religious monument (10km)
- Carennac: most beautiful village (10km)
- Gouffre des Vitarelles: site of natural beauty (14km)
- Curemonte: most beautiful village (17km)
- Rocamadour: grand site of france (17km)
- Rocamadour basilique Saint-Sauveur (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (17km)
The French version of this page is at Autoire (Francais)