Saint-Cirq Lapopie belongs to the association “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (The Most Beautiful French Villages Association) and is perched 100m above the river Lot.
It is 30 kms east of Cahors and approximately 10kms from the Ancienne Auberge. To view directions click here
Saint-Cirq Lapopie as we know it today, dates back to medieval times. It was an important town of one of the viscounties of Quercy. This region was divided among 4 feudal dynastic families, one of which being the Lapopie family, (hence the village name). The other families were: the Gourdon, Cardaillac and Castelnau families.
Several castles and fortified houses were built during these times. The remnants of the fortress of Saint-Cirq Lapopie is still visible today. It is possible to climb to the top and be afforded outstanding views of the valley below. The climb starts by the side of the fortified church that dates back to the 15th century. The interior of the church itself has been largely restored in the last number of years.
Fortified gates enclosed the village. Here the houses, built largely of stone and wood date from the 13th to 16th centuries. They are characterised by their steep sloping roofs that are covered in flat tiles.
Way below the village and a testament to the importance the river Lot was to commerce and trade are mills, dams, locks and even a tow path.
Saint-Cirq Lapopie Today
Saint-Cirq Lapopie is very much a heritage site with most buildings being listed. It is reported that it receives somewhat more than 400,000 visitors a year especially since it won a popularity vote in 2012. Most visitors are from within France.
It is easy to spend long hours in the many shops many of which are dedicated to the village’s history of craft activities; skinners, copper smiths, wood turners.
It was rediscovered by Henri Martin, a post-impressionist artist and many artists have lived in the village over the ensuing decades. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was also the home of the writer and poet, André Breton.
Worth a visit is the Musée Rignault. Named after the owner, a painter and art collector around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a delightful place to pass the time taking in the current temporary exhibition and the wonderful garden along with its stunning views.