Saint-Cirq Lapopie is a commune in the Lot region of Occitania, 30 km east of Cahors.
The territory of the locality, vast of about 18 km ², culminates at 389 m of altitude, the village itself overhanging the course of the Lot towards which the walker can descend via a pleasant route. However, from the shore, the climb to the heart of the town requires some effort!
Member of the association of the Most beautiful villages of France, designated "favorite village of the French" on France 2 in 2012, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was inhabited since the Gallo-Roman but develops in the Middle Ages, then belonging to the family of Cardaillac (XIII). The small seigniory enjoys it is true of an ideal location on this spur which dominates the valley, but it is soon divided between different families. This is not without effect during the Hundred Years War and then the Wars of Religion. Castles or strongholds were destroyed at the end of these troubles.
Also on the way to Saint-Jacques, the village was then seat of one of the viscounts of Quercy. Until the early twentieth century, the economy is linked to neighboring forests and vineyards of the Lot, and the locality has many wood turners who manufacture barrel taps. Although there are now only about 200 permanent inhabitants against a thousand in the nineteenth century, the village has retained a certain charm with its medieval houses, its cultural vitality and its magnificent views from the village that seems hooked on the rock. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie where the poet André Breton resided in the summer, and where he declared "cease to desire elsewhere", is an essential step during a stay in the region.
In summer, where there are some 500 000 visitors from June to September, once parked on one of the many car parks located along the road overlooking the village, the easiest way is to start the visit of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie through the alleys higher.
The historic heart is entirely pedestrianized, allowing you to stroll along alleys, squares and cobbled streets (be careful, some are steep). Many corbelled houses date from the 14th and 15th centuries, with sloping roofs. All the charm of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is to have preserved its authenticity and its picturesque character, even if pleasant craft stalls, some shops and art galleries mark out the center of the small village.
Note also that the whole village is classified and protected as historical monuments.
For a panorama of the valley and the causses, in the distance, do not hesitate to go on the platform at the top of the ruins of the medieval castle: an orientation table is arranged, and the views are there without equal.
Going downhill, a step is required at the Saint-Cirq and Sainte-Juliette church, which dates essentially from the 15th century. Note that it has kept a Romanesque apse, while adjoining the foundations of an old dungeon and a turret.
Slightly below, is the Rignault museum, named after a collector and a modern art enthusiast, who donated the noble building of medieval origin but remodeled to the department. It has a nice garden. Exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art are offered each year. Open every day from April 1st to September 30th except Mondays and May 1st. Entry: 1 and 2 euros. Information on +33 5 65 31 23 22.
Another place not to be missed is the Daura house, named after a Catalan artist who lived there before the Second World War. This magnificent building which was a hospice in the Middle Ages now hosts "International Residences of Artists" (reserved for young painters, sculptors, videographers), all managed by La Maison des Arts Georges and Claude Pompidou Cajarc. Open every day in summer. Free entry. Information on +33 5 65 40 78 19.
We will not forget the former Auberge des Mariniers, at the bottom of the village, which was acquired in 1950 by the surrealist poet André Breton, who spent his holidays there every summer until his death in 1966. Now owned by the commune, Labeled "House of Illustrious", the site is dedicated to poetry and welcomes all year and especially in summer poetic readings and exhibitions in connection with surrealism.
Guided walks in the village are offered seasonally. Otherwise, leaflets are available at the Tourist Office. Information on +33 5 65 31 31 31.
For lovers of hiking, many circuits are accessible from the town or crossing, starting with the towpath, dug into the cliff towards Cahors, and which include the small chapel Saint-Croix (nineteenth) on the heights, the belvedere of Bancourel, or the lock of Aulanac, by the river. Maps and information on +33 5 65 31 31 31.
After visiting this heritage jewel or a hike, note finally that we can agree a cool break in the Lot. A beach is located at the bottom of the village, dedicated to lazing around or swimming (supervised in July and August). Information on +33 5 65 30 29 51.
On the same site, a club invites to discover these grandiose landscapes in a singular way via canoe-kayak rides.