In Quercy, nature is awe-inspiring. Between the Lot Valley, dotted with vineyards, and the Lotoise Dordogne Valley, ideal for canoeing, hikers and water sports enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice. They can also opt for the cliffs, valleys and dry stone walls of the Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park, unless they prefer the Aveyron Gorges and their superb viewpoints. In the heart of these gorges, the charming medieval towns of Bruniquel with its two castles, and Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val with its 12th-century Romanesque House, make it well worth spending a few hours out and about. Lovers of the mysterious world of underground caverns will be enthralled by the Padirac Chasm or the Pech-Merle Cave.
Other characterful villages vie to be the most charming against a backdrop of ancient stones and lush countryside: Carennac, Autoire, Loubressac, Auvillar, Lauzerte... The towns also have a remarkable heritage. Elegant Cahors, with its Cathedral of St. Stephen, views of Mount Saint-Cyr and Valentré bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or the extraordinary town of Rocamadour, perched on its cliff overlooking the Alzou Canyon, are jewels not to be missed.
It is also nice to stroll through the narrow streets of the old town of Figeac, a medieval town with many architectural treasures, or sit on a café terrace on the unusual square, Place Nationale, in Montauban, a town that has dedicated a museum to the local painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. The cherry on the cake comes when you discover the sublime village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, perched on a rock and seemingly watching over the Lot Valley.
There are also some remarkable monuments to admire, including the prestigious Moissac Abbey, the seven towers in the medieval town of Martel, the imposing castle of Castelnau-Bretenoux, notable for the red colour of its stones, or Gramont castle, which towers over a charming little village.
Between outings, the local specialities - walnuts, melons, chestnuts, ceps, truffles - will help you regain your strength and vitality, and you cannot leave without tasting a delicious little Rocamadour goat's cheese, served with a nice glass of Cahors wine!