Saint Cirq LaPopie, Lot Valley hillside charmer may once have been the Lot Valley’s most treasured secret, but I’m not sure that is the case anymore. Given the number of cars that were parked along the road and the tour buses parked at the top of the hill, I think you might say that the secret is out. But, don’t let that stop you. It would be a shame to miss it.

The journey to Saint Cirq LaPopie began as we were returning to Cahors from Grotto Pech Merle.  And, as we were driving along a river canyon marveling at the scenery we saw a cute little town on the other side and decided to stop in.

It would be natural for you to think that the lovely village seen from across the river was Saint Cirq LaPopie. But, that would be too easy.

bouzies-france

No, that little town was called Bouziés. A village that likes to challenge drivers to a narrow one lane bridge as the right of passage. Did it scare the willies out of us? Not ashamed to admit that we were a bit nervous, but the setting and the cliff dwellings in the walls along the river bank were worth the trauma.

Chance is a strange and wonderful thing. As we were leaving Bouziés, we spotted a sign that read “St. Cirq Lapopie, 4.5km”.

It was one of those,”What the hell, why not moments…” Hmmm…. How can 4.5 kilometers seem so far? When the road is so narrow that even a tiny Fiat brushes the weeds on the side of the road. When the switchbacks have their own switchbacks. When… Oh, alright, I’m embellishing, but you get the picture.

Finally, we found ourselves trapped between a tour bus and a hard place, and decided to hoof it. Though, in truth, we had no idea where we were hoofing it to.

We were just a couple of lemmings following others off the cliff, or in this case down some rather steep tarmac. Soon, the aggravation, forgotten. What lay at our feet, delightful!

Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

Having never heard “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”, which is an official title by the way simply meaning,”The most beautiful villages of France”, we were understandably perplexed. We had inadvertently stumbled upon one of the villages recognized for their incomparable beauty and charm.

Saint Cirq LaPopie in France

Saint-Cirq-LaPopie is perched on 100 meters above the Lot River on a steep cliff. The town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the department of Lot. Who knew? The entire town might be described as a museum, or one big art gallery.

However you want to describe it, it is undeniably pretty.

Saint Cirq LaPopie, Lot Valley, France - Saint Cirq LaPopie clings to the verdant hillside.

The village clings to the side of the cliff…. but you can easily meander the cobbled lanes narrowly dividing the centuries old stone buildings. Enjoy art, and craft work from local artisans. Take in the natural beauty.

Stop and tarry awhile over a delicious lunch with a lovely rosé, or beer. Your visit will truly be delightful.

Saint Cirq Lapopie, france lunch

If you prefer more active pursuits as well, you will find many trails in the woods surrounding the area. They are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.

The River Lot is also very popular as well as boating.

Places to Stay in Saint-Cirq-LaPopie

The village is very small, and we only noticed one place to stay. As it happens we had decided to stop in for lunch at L’Auberge du Sombral, and found that it is a charming old house that has been nicely refurbished, and nestled right in the heart of this medieval village. Another that we saw was Chateau de Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. But, we can’t really speak about them other than to say they looked comfortable, clean, and hospitable.

Whatever you do during your visit to the Lot Valley, do yourself a favor and make sure that visit Saint Cirq LaPopie. There are many great things to see and do here, and this place is easy to over look if you are unaware of it. Now you know, so you haven’t any excuses.

Arnie was the Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week on my podcast website, Break Into Travel Writing. Please check out his blogger profile! breakintotravelwriting.com/arnie-jacobsen/

Saint Cirq Lapopie, France