Gerardin Travels        

The Lot River winding...

...around the city of Cahors

Arial view of Cahors

Pont Valentre

Malbeac grape vineyards

Just outside of Puy L'Eveque

View of the Lot from St. Cirq Lapopie

Saint Cirq Lapopie

Roof tops of St. Cirq Lapopie

View from our window

View at night of St. Cirq Lapopie

View from our hotel room...

...during the day

July - Cahors and Saint Cirq Lapopie

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During a planning session for

our summer trips we chose

Cahors in the department of

the Lot in Southwest France.

It's a UNESCO site and sounded

really interesting. We

researched and reserved our

visit in June as it is a popular

destination for tourists

particularly in the summer.

We spent two nights at a nice

little hotel (pretty much the

only one) in Cahors. We

wandered thru the narrow

cobblestone streets of the old

town, visited the famous Pont

Valentre and hiked to the top

of the hill that overlooks the

Lot river as it makes a

sweeping U around the village.

We had some super meals and

partook in all the local

specialties such as foie gras,

magret de canard, cassoulet de

canard, canard this, canard

that, and then again some

other form of canard... I think you can get the idea there

was a lot of DUCK!  Joe said he might start quacking if we

stayed much longer.

Saturday morning, our last day in Cahors, Lisa got up

early so she could go to the market in the square. The

Saturday market had been written up as one of the real

highlight not to miss. It was somewhat of a cool hazy

morning and she was not disappointed by the beauty of

the effect of the light upon the flower and vegetable

sellers stands as she entered the plaza. It was filled with

color and buzzing with activity. She bought a massive bag

of fresh Herbs de Provence and will think of the market

each time she sprinkles the herb in her cooking .

We picked up a rental car Saturday morning and headed

outside of Cahors. In preparing for our visit we discovered

that the region of Cahors produced some very good wines.

We started selecting Cahors wines at the stores and really

like it. It's a Bordeaux of sorts but much smoother and a

little richer as it's made with the Malbeac grape. We

headed off to visit some vineyards in our little Peugeot

107. We arrived at a vineyard just outside of Puy L'Eveque

shortly after noontime. Ouf, we'd forgotten about the two

hour lunch closures.

We were sitting in the car trying to decide how to kill

almost 2 hours when this man came up to our car asking if

it was possible to come back at 14:00 when they

reopened. As we chatted he picked up the fact that we

were Americans and immediately launched in to how he

loved traveling to the U.S. and all of his sales visits and

wine clubs that he had participated in. But the best part

was when he pulled out his iPhone and started scrolling

thru all his photos of America and sharing them with us as

he leaned through the car window. He suggested a place

to eat in Puy L'Eveque (that was excellent) and he was off.

Joe turned to me when he left and said "that was the

owner!" as he pointed enthusiastically to the mans photo

in our wine route booklet that we picked up at the Tourist

Office.  We returned after lunch and had a wonderful

degustation and purchased a few bottles of a 2003 vintage

that we particularly liked.

Note about 2003: this was the year of the great canicule in

France, hence the gangbuster of a vintage for pretty much

all producers. There are hardly any affordable 2003

vintages left to be had so we were especially pleased to

have been able to get it.

We had reserved two nights at a Hotel at Saint Cirq

Lapopie

Actually, the hotel was directly across the Lot river from

the town, affording us a spectacular view of the village of

Saint Cirq Lapopie

Sunday we drove to these caves that date back to 786

where they have discovered prehistoric cave drawings

called Peche Merle. Our guide told us that out of the

couple thousand caves around Europe that they have

discovered only about 20 are open to the public and this is

one of them. It's highly protected from damage from the

environment and thus they limit the number of visitors to

700 per day in groups of 25. You can call to reserve in

advance to avoid being disappointed. When you reserve

you are given an exact departure time and group number

and if you don't show up 15 minutes before they have the

right to cancel your reservation and give your place to

someone else.  To supplement the visit there is a film and

a very good museum.

 

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