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The Dordogne Itinerary

Day 4

Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac

Stunning vierw of the Dordogne from Domme, Dordogne, ©2004 Simon Moss

As we leave Calés this morning, down a simply breath-taking descent, notice how the landscape has changed from the lush farmland of yesterday to the arid limestone causses on the way to Rocamadour. At the base of the first descent is the ancient fortified mill of Cougnaguet. This enchanting pocket of French history gives us a fascinating insight into the lawlessness of this region during the 13th century.

Leaving the mill, we can head across country on the old pilgrim’s way into Rocamadour, one of the most spectacular towns in France, clinging to the side of a cliff hundreds of feet above the Alzou Gorge. The town developed around the site of a 13th century hermitage, and is now ranked as the second site in France. Michelin gave Rocamadour 3*** - worth a journey in itself - and it is unforgettable.

The afternoon is easier than this morning's climb but you can make up for this if you choose to use the stairs rather than the elevator when we visit the Gouffre de Padirac, a massive cavern leading to an underground river with spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations. Another Michelin 3*** attraction, and although the staff are bad even by French standards of customer service, the Gouffre de Padirac is unmissable. The underground journey, including a boat trip along the river will last around an hour and you should ensure you have something warm to wear,

By the time we emerge from the cave, it is usually late afternoon, and a 5-mile cycle ride brings us to the Hotel Lou Cantou in Loubressac, and the tender mercies of the Cayrousse family. Loubressac sits on the edge of the Causses, and we get beautiful views across both the Dordogne and Bavé valleys.

Distance = 27 miles / 44 Km

Click this link for Day 4 route map on mapometer.

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