St. Circ Lapopie is a commune in the Lot department in south-western France. It is designated as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (one of the prettiest towns in France).
It is in the regional park Les Causses du Quercy. The stronghold of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie was the main seat of one of the four viscountcies that made up Quercy, divided among four feudal dynasties, the Lapopie, Gourdon, Cardaillac and Castelnau families.
Its position, originally selected for defense, perched on a steep cliff 100 m above the river has helped make the town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the department, and the entire town is almost a museum. After it was discovered by the Post-Impressionist Henri Martin, it became popular with other artists and the home of the writer André Breton.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is situated along the French pilgrimage route, Way of St. James. Coming from Cabrerets pilgrims would pass through, and then continue to Cahors, visiting St. Stephen's cathedral.
Poet Andre Breton spent time here in the 1950s in his auberge des Mariniers.
Cahors has had a rich history since Celtic times, though it has declined economically since the Middle Ages and lost its university in the eighteenth century. Today it is a popular tourist centre with people coming to enjoy its mediaeval quarter and the unique 14th century fortified Valentré bridge. It is the seat of the Diocese of Cahors.
Cahors was prominent in the Middle Ages and saw considerable conflict during the Hundred Years War and the later Wars of Religion. It was also infamous at that time for having bankers that charged interest on their loans. The church in these times said that using money as an end in itself (usury) was a sin. Because of this Cahors became synonymous with this sin, and was mentioned in Dante's Inferno (XI.50) alongside Sodom as wicked.
Pope John XXII, born Jacques Duèze or d'Euse, was born in Cahors in 1249, the son of a shoemaker, and it was the home of Dutch poet Ankie Peypers (1928–2008), winner of the 1962 Anne Frank-award. In the 2007 Tour de France, Cahors was the start of stage 18.
Saint-Germain-du-Bel-Air is a commune in the Lot department in south-western France.
The village lies in the middle of the commune, on the left bank of the Céou, which flows westward through the commune.
Luzech is a commune in the Lot department in south-western France.
It is situated on the Lot River.
A relatively small village of about 1650 inhabitants, it is situated in the heart of the Cahors wine making region.
Luzech offers a number of sporting and social activities such as orienteering, fishing and kayaking.
The Château de Beynac is a castle situated in the commune of Beynac-et-Cazenac, in the Dordogne département of France. The castle is one of the best preserved and best-known in the region.
This Middle Ages construction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a limestone cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the Dordogne River.
Domme (Occitan: Doma) is a commune in the Dordogne department in Aquitaine in south-western France.
The town, an example of the medieval fortified town known as a bastide, was founded by Philip the Bold in 1281. Graffiti by Knights Templar imprisoned here following the dissolution of the order in 1307 may be observed on the tower gates. Today, Domme is considered to be one of France's most beautiful towns ( Les plus beaux villages de France). The city is also called "Akropolis des Périgord".
*Other excursions include the villages of Saint Sulspice, La Bastide-Murat and Sarlat.
**Highlights include the cave paintings at Pech Merle, castles, fabric and food markets.
***All information is courtesy of Wikipedia.