About an hour’s leisurely drive from La Blanquette stands the imposing cliff-face village of Rocamadour. The buildings of Rocamadour rise in tiers up the side of a steep gorge running between rocky walls raching over 400 feet in height. Flights of steps ascend from the lower levels to the churches, a group of massive buildings half-way up the cliff, the most notable of which is Notre Dame with its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This time of year we found the the village basking in the low level sun, the majority of the buildings positioned on the south facing side of the cliff. Then on exploring the lower part of the village we found houses that appeared to be almost in constant shade, shadowed by the other side of the gorge even at midday. This gave the lower village an eerie feel as we then climbed back up to the warm sunlit centre with its churches and monuments. The steps zigzag up between the different levels of Rocamadour, also taking you through tunnels past the ‘chapelles’ and on to the more open ‘chemin’ which again zigzags its way up to the prominent clifftop château which was built to protect and preserve the sacred treasures of Rocamadour below it.
There are plenty of small boutiques, cafes and restaurants to enjoy when visiting. Our recommendation is to park at l’Hospitalet (which is also home to the Grotte des Merveilles) and enjoy the panoramic view of Rocamadour from one of the restaurants or the viewpoint there, then to follow the ‘Voie Santé’ down the hill and into the village to explore further, returning either by ascending to the Château and walking back to l’Hospitalet or along the Voie Santé once more.
From La Blanquette there is a beautiful circular road route to reach Rocamadour via Payrac, through the Ouysse valley; then return via Lacave (with its Grotte and another clifftop château) and then along the Dordogne back through Souillac.