August 24

Marcilhac Sur Célé to St Circ Lapopie 29 km

Well my destination today was voted in 2012 as the most beautiful village in France. I decided I just had to visit it and decided that the extra hours walk both today and tomorrow might be worth it. 

So much for planning. You cannot make a successful plan if you do not have all the facts available. What I had not realised when I made my plan and booked my accomodation was that my path today went past Grotte de Peche Merle. If I had known,  I would have chosen a visit to the Grotte to see the 50,000 year old cave paintings and missed out the village. There wasn’t time to do everything. There never is!

The village is very pretty with lovely streets

Plenty of tourists (including me)

And ancient hat shops

At the start of the day on my way to buy my baguette I spotted this poor unfortunate who had become all dried up in yesterday’s sun

Let that be a warning to all you sunbathers!

Morning mist drifted through the valley

The path lay mainly over the dry, limestone plateau. It was another hot and sunny day

This walking is what I had hoped for. Quiet paths and not much road. I only saw two pilgrims all day. It was joyous. Tomorrow’s destination of Cahors marks a definite change in the walk. (I will explain in Saturdays blog). For now I was revelling in these magic paths. 
Every now and again the path would dip into the valley. That does involve descent and re-ascent but it was worth it and anyway what’s a couple of hundred metres of ascent when the temperature is only 31°?

There is an old chateau in the rock – left hand end of the photo:

Another old building in the middle:

An old village under the cliffs:

Another old chateau lodged in the cliff:

The last hour of my walk lay along the River Lot. In times past it was the highway for transporting goods and the boats had to be hauled upstream. So they made this pathway through the cliffs:

I had a lovely evening meal on the terrace with four others. Last night I was sitting next to a lawyer in International Law and opposite two Brazilians. There are a lot of different people on this walk. I wonder who I will meet tomorrow………