Rocamadour

Rocamadour is classed as a Unesco world heritage site and receives around 1.5 million visitors per year. Hanging onto the cliff, in the deep and abrupt canyon of the Alzou, the spectacular setting is hard to beat.

The village is beautiful, but the centuries-old flow of religious pilgrims has in modern times been augmented by more secular-minded visitors, so now in summer the houses of the main street transform into gift shops, fast food and restaurants.

If you are a pilgrim, or even just an interested visitor, make sure you research the fabulous history of Rocamadour to understand why it is the premier pilgrimage site of France, make sure you visit early in the day, and always avoid the heat and the tourists of mid-day in summer.

But visit Rocamadour, if you can, at night when all have departed. Find a restaurant with a view of the sunset and sip your aperos, enjoying the magical view of this amazing place.

Visit too the Rocher des Aigles, a breeding centre for birds of prey – don't miss the demonstrations of the birds in flight – and also the Forêt des Singes where more than a hundred Barbary apes roam the plateau in freedom, while visitors have to stick to the paths.

There is an excellent walk upstream in the valley of the Alzou, passing a number of ruined watermills, culminating in the hair-raising (in wet weather) moulin du Saut. Downstream towards Lacave there is a good walk to the gouffres of Cabouy and Saint Sauveur where the river Ouysse re-emerges and, a little further on, the charming medieval, fortified moulin de Cougnaguet which can be visited between April and mid-October.

Location: 10 minutes drive from Gramat, in a superb setting.
Restaurants and shops: Many in summer. Very quiet in Winter.
In a nutshell: An amazing site, steeped in history. An essential visit.

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