Saint Cirq Lapopie
Listed as Great Site of Midi-Pyrenees
Visitor's Rating: (2.5 out of 4/Number of Votes:2)
When coming from Cahors on the departmental road, Saint Cirq Lapopie village looks like hanging from a cliff above the river Lot.
It is one proud member of the "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" organization and was elected the favorite village of France in 2012 ("village préféré des Français").
In middle ages the village was the seat of one of the four viscounties of Quercy region.
The name Lapopie has a curious origin and comes from the shape of the hill the village occupies: in Occitan language "la popia" describes the promontory as having the shape of a ...breast!
The village was inhabited during the Gallo-Roman times. The Romans built there a tower that became later, in the 13th century, the foundation of the local lords - the Cardaillac family - castle. The walls of the castle, that was dismantled first at the end of the 15th then rebuilt and then demolished again by the Huguenot army of Henri of Navarre in the 16th century, can still be seen.
The village is an open air museum with houses and architectural elements dating from the 13th, 14th, 15th or the 16th centuries.
The tallest building is by far the Saint-Cirq church. Built starting from 1522 in the gothic style on the foundation of an old Romanesque chapel it is a simple and elegant church with beautiful baroque statues and remains of murals.
Situated also on the lower part of the village, the Rignault House, formerly known as Gardette Castle, is what remains from an old building complex inhabited by the Hébrard de Saint Sulpice family, the descendants of Cardaillac family through the marriage of Marguerite de la Popie with Arnaud d'Hébrard Saint Sulpice in the 15th century.
The house was overhauled by Joseph Rignault and hosts now an art museum.
Of Saint Cirq Lapopie, the poet André Breton - who bought in 1950 there the house called "l'Auberge des Mariniers" - was writing in 1951: "Saint-Cirq a disposé sur moi du seul enchantement: celui qui fixe à tout jamais. J'ai cessé de me désirer ailleurs"
Absolutelly wonderful. We liked the valley of Lot very much. Very quiet and not as touristic (yet!) as the Dordoge valley!
It is nice but quite small. The parking is way off the village but nice overall!