First port of call, the Caves of Lacave : Les Grottes de Lacave. Less famous than the Gouffre de Padirac, this journey to the center of the Earth is equally mesmerizing. The caves are only 8 minutes on foot from Le Pont de l’Ouysse. !
Three km further, get up close and personal to some life-size dinosaurs at Prehisto-Dino Park and do not miss a tour of the Grotte des Carbonnières, only recently opened to the public.
There are so many remarkable buildings and historic monuments in the area, it is hard to know where to begin… Very close to Le Pont de l’Ouysse, Le Moulin de Cougnaguet is a must. Built by monks in the 13th century on the banks of the Ouysse river, the fortified mill still works today for visitors.
It takes 15 minutes by car via the scenic route to reach the medieval city and pilgrimage site of Rocamadour. Hanging on a vertical cliff, the thousand year old city in an architectural treasure on the Way of Saint James to Compostella.
Slightly further afield, the Gouffre de Padirac is the biggest chasm in Europe. An incredible journey 103m underground, by foot and on board a boat on a crystal-clear subterranean river..
Lascaux IV is the new and complete replica of the world-famous prehistoric caves of Lascaux. Home to renowned 20 000 year old Paleolithic art and situated in the Dordogne department, we recommend you book in advance. Tours in English are available. En route, you might want to visit the abbey-church Sainte-Marie in Souillac, a remarkable 12th century building with a byzantine-style roof.
25 minutes from le Pont de l’Ouysse, the city of Martel is well worth the detour. Named the “Town of Seven Towers”, it was an important merchant city in the Middle-Ages. Its importance was revived again in the 19th century with the truffle trade. Do not miss the spectacular journey on board the steam train Truffadou to discover wonderful panoramas over the Dordogne Valley.
35 minutes from Le Pont de l’Ouysse, Loubressac is labelled as one of the « Most Beautiful Villages in France ». It dominates the landscape over three valleys and the mighty fortified castle of Castelnau-Bretenoux. Close by, the village of Carennac with a 12th century church and cloister, is another unmissable medieval gem.
10 minutes further, you will reach the lively town of Saint-Céré with many shops and medieval buildings. Do not miss the Château de Montal while you are there. The only Renaissance castle of the Dordogne Valley, it was built by a woman with a tragic destiny.
Going South towards Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is a picture-perfect village overlooking the Lot River. Also labelled as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, a steep climb leads through narrow medieval streets with artist’s shops and historic buildings.
Lastly but by no means least, Sarlat in the Périgord Noir is famous across the world for its unparalleled historical, architectural and cultural heritage.