The Area

The Lot and the Célé Valley

Sauliac-sur-Célé is 20 miles from Figeac, the main market town on the River Célé, and only 9 miles from Saint Cirq Lapopie, a beautiful medieval village (one of the most picturesque in France) built high on the cliffs above the River Lot, with its many local artisan shops and a wide variety of restaurants. 25 miles to the west is the town of Cahors, which is the Prefecture (capital) of the department. It is easy to reach the local markets and interesting or historical places from Sauliac, and the roads are great for cycling due to the lack of traffic.

The butterflies and wild flowers are exceptional in the spring. Buzzards, black kites and many other european birds can be seen close at hand, as can the red squirrels and deer. Rarely seen are the shy wild boar, which roam the hills at dusk. The cliffs at Sauliac are a protected nesting habitat for peregrine falcons and eagle owls. If you are a person that does not like sitting still, the area has some wonderful footpaths, where you can walk virtually all day without seeing another soul. There are several in the area called the "Chemins qui Parlent", literally "the roads which speak" where you can hire a tape from the local tourist offices, which talks you around the route, pointing out things (cazelles, dolmens, lavoirs, chateaux, ruins and local architecture). Or you can just take the leaflet and follow the route without the tape. The Grand Randonnee 651 passes through the area and there are lots of way marked local walks.

 

There are also canoes to hire on both the Lot and Célé rivers, you can do rock-climbing, caving, and mountain biking. You can swim in the Lot river, as there is a beach on the riverside just under St Cirq Lapopie.

If its sightseeing you are after, you will be spoilt for choice.

Within a few kilometres you have:

Chateau de Cenevieres - a romantic chateau, parts of which date from the 13th century, and strategically placed overlooking the Lot valley.

Saint Cirq Lapopie - perched on the cliff side, overlooking the Lot Valley, this picturesque village with quaint winding streets is one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Grottes du Pech Merle - If you like caves you must visit this, it has some of the most renowned prehistoric cave paintings, as well as lots of stalactites and stalagmites, and also the largest colony of long eared bats in Europe.

Musee de Cuzals - this is an open air museum, showing all aspects of life in the country, ranging from various types of house from medieval times to early in the last century, lots of farm implements and machinery, and in the summer amongst other things, a working bakery

.St Gery - with its railway museum

Marcilhac-sur Célé with its ancient ruined abbey

     Further afield you have:

 

Lalbenque - which is famous for its truffle markets in the autumn.

 

Riverboat trips - from the Pont Valentre or Saint Cirq Lapopie along the Lot river.

 

The Cahors vineyards - go and taste some of this wonderful nectar, and take some back home.

Rocamadour - the second most visited historic site in France (outside Paris) after Mont St Michel. It is an amazing place built under the cliffs. See the black Madonna in the cathedral and climb the ramparts of the old Chateau, and in the last week of September see the hot air balloon festival.

Espagnac - with its priory.

Cahors - with its famous fortified Pont Valentre bridge, and medieval quarter with Cathedral.

Bonaguil - one of the last old style castles, in our opinion the best one around.

Figeac - with its Champollion museum. Also a good place for looking at brocante's. Market on Saturday mornings.


There are also the obligatory French markets and local restaurants where you can get a fixed menu from only €12. In Cahors they have a couple of night markets and in July a Blues festival along the main Boulevard Gambetta. These have an absolutely brilliant atmosphere, you can sit outside in one (or more) of the bars and listen to the music for free!


The Lot has more Michelin starred restaurants per inhabitant than any other department, but you don't have pay high prices to eat well here.

The Lot has more kilometres of departmental (D) road per inhabitant than any other department, giving the least crowded roads in France.

The Lot is the best area of France for star gazing due to the lack of light pollution. (Lot is one of the most sparsely populated areas in France). So if you are a keen astronomer, bring your binoculars and prepare yourself for a visual feast. The Milky way is magnificent, and if you come at the beginning of August you can see the Perseides -hundreds of shooting stars!

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