Date and Time (Original) – 2023:08:01 10:50:48
My first visit to France was in the summer of 1998. A swift 25 years have passed since then. I revisited the village in 2010, which is when I started my journey through the charming villages of France. In the departments of Lot and Dordogne, there are many villages that have been selected as the most beautiful in France. When I planned to visit this region 13 years ago, I felt the urge to return to Rocamadour, a place I had visited in 1998, and I made my second visit.
Now, this is my third visit. The reason I came back is that Rocamadour has recently been chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in France. When I last visited around 2010, the village was undoubtedly popular as a tourist destination, but it had not yet received that title.
Having visited before, I generally remembered the way. However, while driving, I wasn’t completely sure about the specifics of the route. It took about an hour from the chateau hotel where I stayed the previous night to the village. I arrived around 11 am, which felt like a more relaxed start than usual.
Nevertheless, I clearly remembered the location of the parking lot and was able to park in the same spot as last time. Rocamadour is a village that developed along a cliff, and the parking is located at the top. From this parking area, one can descend to the village center using stairs, but we opted to use the cable car for easier mobility. Considering the challenge of using the stairs on the way back, we decided to purchase round-trip tickets in advance.
The village’s scenery hadn’t changed much since I visited 25 and 13 years ago. However, being the summer holiday season now, there were notably more tourists than 13 years ago. There were also many souvenir shops, and it was bustling. While it’s heartening to see so many people, I yearned for the quiet times when I could enjoy the village in tranquillity. Especially recently, I’ve felt that the number of tourists has significantly increased.
Of course, it’s good to see local shops and restaurants thriving with the influx of tourists. The number of public restrooms has also increased. However, I can’t help but feel a longing for the quiet ambiance of the past.
For a detailed description of the village, please refer to the information below.
Rocamadour is a historic village located in the Lot department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France. It’s one of France’s most iconic landmarks and a renowned pilgrimage site, drawing tourists and religious devotees alike for many centuries. Here’s a brief overview of this enchanting location:
- Cliffside Setting: One of the most striking features of Rocamadour is its position. The village is perched on the side of a limestone cliff, overlooking the Alzou Canyon. This dramatic setting, with buildings appearing to cling to the cliff face, is part of what gives Rocamadour its unique charm.
- Religious Significance: Rocamadour is a major Christian pilgrimage site, and it has been for over a thousand years. It became famous for the Shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour, a revered place of worship.
- The Black Madonna: The sanctuary houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, known as the Black Madonna. This statue has been the focus of religious devotion and numerous legends, attracting pilgrims from all over the world.
- Historical Architecture: The village has a number of religious buildings, including the sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Chapel of St. Michael, and the Church of St. Sauveur, which are built into the cliffside. The religious complex is accessed by the Grand Escalier, a staircase of 216 steps, often ascended by pilgrims on their knees.
- The Great Staircase: Leading up to the religious complex is the Great Staircase, which devout pilgrims have been known to ascend on their knees as an act of penance.
- Tourism: Beyond its religious significance, Rocamadour is also a major tourist destination due to its historical architecture, stunning views, and the nearby Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy, a regional nature park.
- Cheese: Rocamadour is also known for “Cabécou de Rocamadour,” a small soft goat cheese that has a Protected Designation of Origin status.
- Eagle Sanctuary: Near Rocamadour is the Rocher des Aigles, a sanctuary where visitors can see and learn about birds of prey, especially eagles.
- Department of Lot: The Lot department, where Rocamadour is situated, is known for its picturesque landscapes, historic towns, and caves. It’s part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and offers a diverse range of natural and cultural attractions.
In summary, Rocamadour is a blend of religious history, natural beauty, and architectural wonder, making it a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to the region. Whether you’re drawn to its spiritual significance, historical importance, or simply its breathtaking views, Rocamadour does not disappoint.