I didn’t know anything about Saint-Cirq-Lapopie until I watched a video by a couple of youtubers – Sasha and Jay. They are a young British couple who make videos about their life and share them on YouTube (link here). Seeing their video “sold” it and I penned it into in my itinerary.
If you are familiar with my Road Trip Diaries, then you know that I love driving and wouldn’t think twice about setting off on a 80 mile journey to take a few photographs. It was a nice and easy drive with hardly anyone else on the road. When I went past Cahors, the road became narrower with plenty of twists and turns on the way up into the mountains.
It was so “off the beaten track” that I began to question my SatNav again. You see, it has this habit of taking me on the most peculiar roads to my destinations. I was half expecting it to take me through some abandoned woodlands and across a shallow river on the way there, just to cut my journey by half a mile.
Anyway, that didn’t happen and I eventually saw a sign pointing to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. When you reach the outskirts of the village, you have to leave the main road and go through a barrier to get to the car park. It costs €4 for the day and you can use coins, banknotes or a card to pay it on your way out.
My visit to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
There’s a short walk from the car park to the village. It’s downhill and you can’t help but stop and photograph one of The Most Beautiful Villages of France from “above”. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and breathable clothes, especially if you visit in the summer.
You will be burning some serious calories walking up and down the hill in the scorching heat and the blazing sun. Come to think of it, some sunscreen wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is one of The Most Beautiful Villages of France and the minute you set eyes on it, you know why. Impressive medieval buildings perched on and built into the side of limestone cliffs, overlooking the Lot Valley.
My finger was stuck on the shutter button as I was walking down the hill, snapping away everything and anything in my sight. The best thing about taking that street was that it led me to the stone gateway on the other side of the village. The Instagram-famous one and the one I was so keen to photograph.
The rest of my visit involved more of the same. I went up the hill on the other side of the square where there was a nice art gallery. I stopped and chatted to the artist who was very nice and talented too. Most of his paintings were quite large canvases with human silhouettes against a clean background. I loved the use of negative space in his artworks and the colour contrast between the main subject and the empty space behind.
If you get too hot, I suggest you go into the church. It is an impressive building and it is very cool, almost cold, inside. Light a candle for a loved one or just sit on one of the chairs and use it as a moment of reflection.
Refused to be served at Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
I decided to wait until most of the other visitors had had their lunch before I stopped for a bite to eat. I fancied a big salad and whatever local delicacy was on offer.
One restaurant caught my eye and I wasted no time going in. There was hardly anyone inside and the waitress was busy putting wine glasses on the tables. She did her best to avoid me and you know how good they are at this, especially if they sense that you are after something.
She must have had a long busy shift or a customer who upset her because she looked a bit cross. That didn’t stop me asking to be seated for lunch though. She refused to serve me and asked me leave the restaurant!!
Luckily for me, there were many other restaurants which were open. So I walked into the next one which looked like a nice place. The waiter was very polite and sat me at a table for one inside as I didn’t want to be eating under the heat of the blazing sun on the terrace.
I went for the dish he recommended and a bottle of Coke. It was as tasty and as filling as it looks in the picture, despite it being taken on my mobile phone. The portion was big enough for two but light and perfect for lunch on a hot day.
Then I went for another walk and I couldn’t resist having a gelato on my way back to the car 🙂
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is not a big place and you don’t really need maps and comprehensive guides with suggestions about places to visit and things to do. If you insist on it, the Tourist Office is on the main square next to the church. Otherwise, I suggest you take your time to explore the village and enjoy the atmosphere.
Here’s a Google Map of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie for visual reference: