Day 18: Cabrerets to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Day 18: Cabrerets to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

After a night of sheet lightning, potential power outages, and heavy rain, we had no idea what to expect today weather wise, but we woke up to nothing more dramatic than light fog. It cleared as soon as we reached the Grotte de Pech Merle and then the sun came out. Richard (our host) drove us up there so we wouldn’t have to tackle a steep, one kilometre climb first thing this morning. 

The Grotte de Pech Merle is one of the few caves in France where you can see original cave paintings. These ones are 30,000 years old, and include animals such as mammoth, bisons, horses, and people, as well as a realistic engraving of a bear done with a flint tool. The painting of spotted horses is an exceptionally well-preserved masterpiece. One highlight is the footprints of a small child, preserved undisturbed for more than 10,000 years. Another highlight is a collection of beautiful cave pearls. All of the stalagmites and stalactites are like an art form, too. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed.

At one point when we were entering the bear cave, our guide asked in both French and English if it was okay with us if she turns off the lights so we could experience the darkness. It took five seconds of total darkness before I felt a desperate need for her to turn the lights back on. It was scary, imagining people who have been lost in caves with no light source, having to find their way out.

I like the rocky trail today better than yesterday’s road walking but not Dave. He doesn’t mind the repetitive movement of road walking whereas I find it tedious after awhile and my feet aren’t happy either. The first part of the ten kilometre hike from Grotte de Pech Merle to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was pleasant along a rocky trail. Then we came to a road and couldn’t find the Chemin’s red and white markers. We ended up walking the rest of the way to Saint Cirq Lapopie on the road. When we saw a “road narrows” sign on an already narrow road, we could hardly believe it. 😳

We were relieved to finally make it here to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Our “lunch” in the middle of the afternoon was beer with apple pie at a little outdoor table overlooking this beautiful medieval village. Ancient ruins are visible from our window at Hotel l’Auberge du Sombral right in the central square. Love it! 😊 

It’s impossible to go to France and not say something (a lot, actually!) about the food. Yesterday’s salad sprinkled with tiny purple flowers was delicious and beautiful. We could tell from the waiter’s face that he knew he was bringing something special to our table. Today’s apple pie was the best we’ve ever eaten, too. Eating is definitely an “event” here in France! ❤️ 😋


10 thoughts on “Day 18: Cabrerets to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

  1. That apple pie looks delish! Is this route a well kept secret? I’ve looked at it, but your photos have brought it to life for me.

  2. I did this deviation too and Saint-cirque-lapopie was a delight. Very special visit. Thanks for sharing. I have had such fun remembering my trip prompted by yours.

  3. Hi Judy & Dave. The Grotte de Pech Merle is fascinating and of special interest to me as while working at UVIC in Grad Studies one of the PhD students was doing her thesis on these caves. I was intrigued! Definitely on our ‘bucket list’. The surrounding countryside looks beautiful as does the village of Saint-Cirque-Lapopie. Not to mention the apple pie….YUM! Thanks for sharing your beautiful stories and photos.

    1. Hi Maggie! I’m glad you are enjoying our stories and photos. Definitely see the Grotte de Pech Marle. We’re in Cahors now and you can add it to your bucket list, too!

  4. Once again Judy, you and Dave are inspiring me to consider this route. Even though I already walked this year, I am feeling the urge to return. Your photos are stunning. I need to look and reread your blogs. Audrey

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