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Saint-Cirq-Lapopie travel guide

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Visit Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (Occitanie, France)

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The lovely village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is listed among the most beautiful villages of France. The village is situated 20 kilometres east of Cahors in the Lot region of France and falls within the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Parc.

Exploring Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

France This Way comment: in our opinion, the stunning position of Saint-Cirq-Lapope, perched over the Lot River, and the historic centre of the village make it one of the most beautiful of the 'beautiful villages of France'.

Due to its situation between the river and the cliffs parking is a challenge when you visit Saint-Cirq-Lapopie: the only parking close to the village centre is marked P4 while the other car parks are a few hundred metres from the centre, which can then be reached by footpath or with a special tourist bus.

You enter the village from above and descend through the medieval streets, but before heading into the historic centre we suggest you follow the main road down the hill: this road has many exceptional views of the village and is one of the high points of a visit to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.

Church and Lot river seen from castle

On a protruding cliff at the highest part of the village you can see the remains of the three fortresses that once stood here.

Although little remains of the actual castles, you still feel a great sense of history and of course the views are very impressive: the castles are on a protruding cliff and you have views in both directions along the Lot Valley as well as across the village rooftops, views that you can't see from anywhere else in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.

Just below the castles you can see an impressive 15th century roman style church. The interior of the church was a disappointment but the outside is impressive and dominates many views of the village.

From here you can now explore the historic centre of the village. The narrow cobbled streets of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie contain a lovely mixture of medieval houses, some in colombage (half-timbered) and some in the yellow stone typical of the region.

Many of the houses we see today date from the 13th to 16th century and often have small terraced gardens that add to the overall beauty of the village..

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There are also several restaurants in the village centre: in fact almost all the restaurants in the village are good quality so allow plenty of time for lunch!

We don't often recommend small local museums in French towns but one notable museum in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is the Rignault Museum, a carefully restored village house and guardhouse that also has a lovely garden and amazing views along the river valley.

Below the village next to the river there are an assortment of old mills and buildings testifying to the activity of the village in centuries gone by, and you can enjoy this by following along the ancient tow path next to the river Lot.

A short distance east of the village there is a leisure area with a river beach.

medieval houses in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Nowadays Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is home to numerous artists and artisans, many with small shops and boutiques in the centre. This trend started perhaps when Andre Breton made his home here and declared that he had, as a consequence, "stopped wanting to go anywhere else".

France This Way comment: Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Lot area and should not be missed if you visiting the region. As with many of the 'most beautiful villages' it is best seen early in the morning - for the better light, and for the smaller numbers of tourists bustling around.

If you are staying nearby you will want to return more than once: for example the village has a quite different character first thing in the morning with the mist rising off the river, or after dark when the castle and village is lit up.

History of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

The quiet village we see today is very different to the town that stood here in the Middle Ages. At that time for several centuries it was an important regional centre within the historic Quercy region and home to the Lapopie, Cardaillac and Gourdon lords.

Its role originally developed in part because of its position on one of the important pilgrimage paths to Santiago de Compostelle that cross France. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie also played an important role in the Albigensian crusades against the cathars, the Hundred Years War and the Wars of religion.

View across the rooftops of the village

Attractions nearby

The tow path in the village (signed Chemin de Halage de Galin) continues about five kilometres west to Bouzigues. In part carved into the rockface, this is an exceptional walk along the river and highly recommended.

Several different feudal dynasties lived in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in the Middle ages, which is why there are so many castles in and near the town. These include the imposing renaissance Castle of Cénevières, furnished in period style and in a raised position with lovely views across the Lot valley as well as various castles built in inaccessible places in the cliffs along the Lot and Célé valleys, together referred to as the Castles of the English.

Other nearby places of interest include the prehistoric caves of Pech-Merle at Cabrerets and the Chateau de Larnagol.

Much of the surrounding Lot Valley is also worth exploring: we first discovered Saint-Cirq-Lapopie as part of a journey between Figeac and Cahors along the lower Lot Valley, which was very pleasant.

Explore elsewhere in the Massif Central. You can find more travel ideas in the Lot guide and the Midi-Pyrenees guide.

See also: 

Photos of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

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Map of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and places nearby

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Visit near Saint-Cirq-Lapopie with France This Way reviews

Cabrerets

Cabrerets

Cabrerets is a pretty village on the Célé river best known for the Grotte de Pech Merle

Cabrerets guide
Cajarc

Cajarc

The medieval centre of Cajarc make it a pleasant place to visit as you explore the Lot Valley and the Natural Parc of the Causses de Quercy

Cajarc guide
Cahors cathedral of Saint-Etienne

Cahors cathedral of Saint-Etienne

The cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Cahors is an unusual 12th century cathedral which has two domes and a roman style entrance among its features

Cahors cathedral of Saint-Etienne guide
Cahors gardens

Cahors gardens

The secret gardens of Cahors are charming and following the garden route is a great way to see the sights of Cahors.

Cahors gardens guide
Cahors

Cahors

Best known for the famous Pont Valentre bridge, Cahors is a lively town which also has a small historic centre

Cahors guide
Pont Valentré

Pont Valentré

Pont Valentré in Cahors is an impressive fortified bridge from the middle ages

Pont Valentré guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Lot

Tourist classifications for Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)

Address: Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Saint-Géry, Cahors, Midi-Pyrenees, 46330, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.464, longitude 1.6704

Plan your visit to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Lot

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (Francais)

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