Rocamadour & Carennac
Sadly today is the last day. But not all is lost as we don’t need to be at the airport until the afternoon and we can still fit in a couple of places to visit along the way.
After the usaul hearty breakfast at the Métairie Basse farmhouse we load our luggage into the minibus and say our farewells to Richard & Helen. We’ve had a marvelous week here and are sorry to be leaving. I promise not to leave it so long next time before we come again.
So with fond goodbyes we hit the bumpy road and bounce down the hill to Sauliac before driving up to Marcilhac where we leave the Célé valley behind. We take one last glimpse to say au revoir to the river.
It doesn’t take us long to drive to Rocamadour and an hour or so later we spill out of the minibus to admire the view of this strange cliff-hugging village. A Chateau on the clifftop has seven chapels stationed below it, and below that the single street of the village and below that the valley of a tiny stream, which at this time of the year is compeltely dry.
We drive the short distance to the Chateau where we will begin our walk. First of all we climb out onto the ramparts and make ourselves dizzy looking straight down onto the chapels and village below. It feels and looks dangerously unsafe up here.
After that we take the walk down to the Chapels starting from the Calvary and descending past the 14 stations of the cross. Rocamadour has been a pilgrimage destination for many centuries, ever since a hermit Amadour was said to have lived to a great age and then died without decomposing.
When we reach the chapels we can see that the place is very busy with tourists and the associated tat for sale. We wander around trying to visit all the chapels, but some are inexplicably closed and a service is being held in another. We creep around anyway, noticing the black Madonna in one of them.
Outside this chapel we see the tomb of St. Amadour and stuck into the cliff above him is the sword Durandal, which is the legendary sword of Roland.
After looking into every nook and cranny of the chapels we continue down the steps to the village, eventually just walking down to the small mill by the stream. A buvette used to be here, but it is now closed and the place is for sale. We decided to walk back to the minibus and get our lunch elsewhere.
With some difficulty we find a local shop to buy some supplies for our picnic lunch and before long we are back on the road heading north. When we reach the Dordogne river I noticed a sign for Carennac which I recall as a very picturesque village on the riverside. We decide to go there for our lunch. It takes a bit longer than expected as the roads are narrow and windy but everntaully we roll into the place and park outside a fortified square and chateau.
We have an improvised lunch here and have time to have a short walk and wander around. We are unsuccessful however in finding a place for a coffee. It’s lunchtime in all the cafes.
Then it’s back into the minibus for the last leg of our journey to Limoges airport which takes a couple of hours. Unlike last year we arrive at the airport in plenty of time. It’s best to get this over and done with. Hugs and handshakes all round. Lots of thanks. Have a safe journey home. See you next year. Always the optimist 🙂
Once again we’ve had a fabulous trip and enjoyed ourselves immenssly. We’ve done everything we set out to do. Lost only one morning due to the rain. Eaten & drunk like kings. Had our fill of picnics. Did we do our 100km? I think we did. Thanks boys (and parents).
Steve & I chill out for a minute before driving again. We have planned to visit Oradour-sur-Glane which is only a 15 minute drive away. Steve is unsure; we know it’s going to be emotional and difficult. I vote to not change our minds now that we are here. So we go. I’ll write about it in another post though as it jars a bit after the great trip we’ve just had.