Causses du Quercy tour
A day car tour (83 km) in the heart of the Causse du Quercy and its small heritage
8.30 : At the starting point, enjoy the spring sunshine as you have a coffee on the terrace in Labastide Murat.
Set off towards Soulomès, going past the birthplace of Joachim Murat and the museum dedicated to him.
Stage 1 : Soulomès
Here, you are just coming to the village of Soulomès. You are on one of the high points of the Causse, on which stand the vestiges of 2 windmills.
Our advice : park where the track cross on the left to get to the better-preserved windmill.
Photographers : go further on to the left of the cross for 200m to get a fine panorama over the Causse and the village.
Before leaving Souloumès, take a look at the fortified church and the strange house with green shutters on the village square.
Stage 2 : Caniac du causse
In Caniac du Causse, walk around the church and take the time to go inside to see the lovely little crypt, which has Historic Monument status. The famous hermit Saint Namphaise, once one of Charlemagne's barons, is supposed to have been buried here.
Saint Namphaise is also known for having devised a technique for retaining surface water on the Causse for the benefit of animals. The tour now takes you to find one of these famous "Saint Namphaise lakes".
Stage 3 : Saint Namphaise lake
It's in the tiny place known as Clavel that you find your quarry, once you've pushed open a "clède" (typical wooden gate). A very pretty rectangular pond hollowed out of the solid limestone. An oasis on the arid Causse, already full of life : tadpoles galore !
The place is peaceful and bathed in sunshine, it would nice to linger but it's time to continue as the Causse still has many lovely places to offer.
Stage 4 : Quissac
Now here you are in Quissac. Go into the church to admire the paintings of a blue like the sky on a sunny day.
See also : another Saint Namphaise pond, that of "Les Places", just under a kilometre south of the village.
Continue on towards Espédaillac. Take the time to admire the countryside, criss-crossed by dry stone walls.
Stage 5 : Espédaillac
Espédaillac : after a walk around the village, you could almost settle there straight away, as the stone houses with their wisteria, lilacs or irises are so beautiful.
In the village centre, a restaurant typical of the Lot, "l'Aubergé Beauville", provides traditional Quercy-style cuisine at very reasonable prices.
Stage 6 : Assier
You arrive in Assier around lunchtime, probably with a healthy appetite. "L'Assiérois" restaurant provides a hearty menu of the day, so that you can set off, feeling well-fed, to explore Assier : the covered market place, the imposing church decorated with a sculpted frieze right around the outside, and the château, which is open for visits.
Before you go, the Pradelles pigeon-tower is well worth a detour : on leaving Assier, take the road towards Lacapelle Marival. It seems gigantic : you feel tiny in comparison !
Go back to the road going towards Durbans.
Stage 7 :
Between Livernon and Assier stands the "cazelle" (dry stone hut) de Lacam, perfectly set off by the pond in front of it. Magic !
It's a really lovely spot, and is an ideal place to relax, complete with picnic table.
Stage 8 : Causse villages
The tour continues through several charming little Causse villages :
- Durbans (Le Cornouiller hamlet) with its little chapel,
- Reilhac : Decked with flowers, and pretty with trim stone walls, pond, and its original council house (maison du consulat).
- Lunegarde : a spacious village where rows of little houses contrast with the imposing church tower.
Stage 9 : Carlucet
Carlucet : here, you go up to the top of the village towards the Lacomte windmill. This place does not suffer from light pollution at night, as it's right in the "dark triangle". It's the ideal spot to observe the starry sky, and a celestial viewing table has been put up. You'll just have to use your imagination for now !
Stage 10 :
The day ends in Montfaucon. Take a little tour around this bastide perched on the hilltops then go down to the lake much used by anglers. Judging by the size of the fish, they must get a lot of bites !
What's fun about this tour :
- It takes you to see the best of our local rural heritage
- You can discover how ingenious our ancestors were
- See some really beautiful stone-built houses
- You visit villages which are little known but have kept their authentic character