St. Cirq La Popie is steeped in history. Named France's most beautiful village, it has narrow streets lined with local artisans' homes where they sell their work ranging from leather goods to jewellery. The village abounds with cafes and restaurants where you can relax and watch village life go by before making your way to a vantage point and view the river below and the panorama of the area.
The village is accessed through great stone gates in the fortified walls and has the remains of three chateaux, and a fine 15th century roman-style church (four feudal dynasties lived here in the middle ages, hence all the chateaux!). The narrow cobbled streets of St Cirq Lapopie contain a lovely mixture of medieval houses - some in colombage (half-timbered) and some in stone, with small terraced gardens adding to the beauty of the place.
Next to the river, below the village, are an assortment of old mills and buildings testifying to the activity of the village in centuries gone by.
St Cirq Lapopie played an important role in the Albigensian crusades, the Hundred Years War and the Wars of religion. It lies on one of the important pilgrimage paths to Santiago de Compostelle that cross France.
Nowadays St Cirq Lapopie is home to numerous artists and artisans, a trend started perhaps when Andre Breton made his home here and declared that he had, as a consequence, 'stopped wanting to go anywhere else'.
St Cirq Lapopie is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Lot region, and should not be missed if you are in the region. As with many of the 'most beautiful villages' it is best seen early in the morning - for the better light, and for the smaller numbers of tourists bustling around.
St Cirq Lapopie is 20km east of Cahors and is stunningly perched 80 metres over the Lot River. It is in the 'Parc naturel régional des Causses du Quercy'.
There are some good restaurants in the village. Our favorite is Le Gourmet Quercynois, Rue de la Peyrolerie, 46330 Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Tel: 05 65 31 21 20.
Tel: + 33 (0)5 65 31 29 06
Address: Office de Tourisme Lot-Célé, 46330 Saint Cirq Lapopie