My husband and I have regularly holidayed in France and this summer was no exception. Staying of the motorways ensures that we come across some of the the loveliest places, many of which are well of the beaten track. Our “Gem” find this year was Rocamadour, set on the side of a gorge, literally!
On arrival the sight of these buildings clinging to the rocks was truly amazing and standing looking down into the depths of the gorge at the people at the bottom, made them look like miniatures. The top is tiny, but does have a few shops, a tourist information and ample parking spaces. There is a large car park near the castle where we parked the car. There is a lift to take you down the mountain side but we didn’t want to miss anything and therefore decided to walk. We decided to have a look at the castle first. You pay at the turn style which then leads along a passageway and up steps along the castle ramparts from which there are stunning views of the gorge and the holy village and churches below. The walk takes you around the castle walls and back. Very nice but we had originally thought we would be going inside the castle but no, that is privately owned. We then walked down the steep path towards the holy village. Along the path there are the stations of the cross set at intervals. The gateway leads into the holy village, which was like a huge castle to us. Inside were several churches and chapels, all were well marked and very interesting. The only “fly in the ointment” was the building works going on which meant a few of the places were inaccessible due to restoration works which was disappointing, but it did not spoil it as there was plenty to see.
Passing out through the far gateway brought us out among the gift shops and a lovely Cafe/Restaurant were we had a coffee sitting right at the edge with amazing views and a sheer drop below us. The walk takes you down a set of steps that we were told pilgrims ascended on their knees. Pilgrims used to and still do i believe come here to give homage to the “Black Madonna” whose statue is in the chapel we visited. The shops along the way are varied and contain many of the regional produce, all very inviting and hard to resist. There is a small train that runs along taking visitors back up to the top, with our laden bags we were tempted, but with such a lovely day we continued to walk. The way back was fairly steep but enjoyable and brought us back to the the far side of the village from where we had to walk back to our car. All in all a wonderful day and we would certainly recommend Rocamadour as a place to visit that has that certain “Different” quality to it.
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