Come rain or come shine….
I just returned home to the village today. It lifts me up to see it again. So beautiful. Although it has been in the 70’s this week, it is cool and grey at the moment which is not unusual for this time of year. Although temperate from April through October, the weather in St. Cirq Lapopie is more variable at either end of the season. And with global climate change, the weather can vary significantly at any time. The good news is that the village and region are gorgeous rain or shine.
Here are some ideas for things to do if you find yourself there during a rainy Day(s):
1) Visit the prehistoric caves at Pech Merle– arrange in advance on line for an English-speaking tour, or enjoy the odd and humorous translations on the hand-out sheet for the French-speaking tour. Or go spelunking with a guide from Kalapca in one of the many caves that sound in the region. Watch Cave of Forgotten Dreams before you go!
2) Visit the renaissance castle Chateau Cenevieres– with luck you may run into the 80+ year old owner who will regale you with wonderful stories (in French), or his charming son Patrick who speaks perfect English and is very erudite
3) Take a day trip to Albi– a lovely city, the home of Toulouse-Lautrec, and with the most amazing cathedral this side of Chartres. Scary frescoes!
4) The outdoor markets run rain or shine– take your bag and your umbrella, and schedule yourself for a lunch break at one of the nearby cafes. There are markets nearly every day, all worth going to.
5) Watch a movie in the lounge upstairs—carry up some snacks and drinks and hang out. Click ‘pause’ once in a while and gather at the window for amazing views across the village and valley.
6) Drive to Conques or Cordes sur Ciel– or any of the other famously beautiful towns within less than a two hour drive.
7) Spend a few hours at a French spa or salon— there’s Alain at the Salon Siz-O in Limogne; and there are salons in Cahors. And just across our bridge is a lovely spa at the Hotel St. Cirq Lapopie.
8) Take the wine tour of the great Wines of Cahors– the tourist office has a map for this– you can spend the day visiting half a dozen vineyards– bring a designated driver!
9) On a Thursday, make the drive to the morning market in Villefranche de Rouergue (leave early, you’ll need some time to find a parking place). The market is in the square, with lots of covered spaces to escape any drenching rain. Make a reservation at the Cote de Saveur restaurant just around the corner from the Chruch for a delicious lunch. You will NOT be diasppointed.
10) Walk the tow path by the river— use an umbrella until you get to the limestone overhang, which you will then walk beneath, temporarily free of drizzle. There is a beautiful Bas relief sculpture on the wall there. Cool!
11) Visit museums on subjects that may interest you– for instance, the Resistance Museum in Cahors. Or the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi.
And there are two small and interesting historic museums in St. Cirq Lapopie!
12) Visit the excellent butcher shop in Limogne in the morning, then bring back food (if you aren’t already stocked up) and spend the day cooking gourmet meals, drinking wine, enjoying our beautiful home.
13) Do everything you’d do if it were sunny– just wear slickers, carry an umbrella, and bring a change of socks.
This is just a partial list of things to do, but remember: you don’t even need to leave the village. The shops, the restaurants, the museums, the ruins, the vistas, the alleyways, the houses, all are there to explore. And you’ve got a great house to duck back into. Breathe deeply, relax, enjoy.