Monday August 24 at daybreak I left the bivouac to enter Sarlat, here, to find a parking lot in the city center and visit it before the arrival of the horde of tourists polluting the photos. At 7.30 I was on work until 9.30; of course the sun did not flood the city. I was impressed by its beauty, by the maintenance of the buildings and the cleanliness of the streets in the early hours of the morning after a Sunday full of tourists polluting incivility. The tenants opened their shops and greeted me warmly, as a potential customer. The medieval town is enclosed in an enclosure of tangled alleys of private hotels that once belonged to celebrities of the arts and letters of the sometimes distant past. It was the test city of the Malraux law of 1962 on the renovation of buildings. As I strolled I had great difficulty imagining it in the Middle Ages when now the ground floors are shops and restaurants for tourists. When I left it they would disembark and the parking lots started to fill up. I headed for Domme, here, built on the mountainside overlooking the valley of the ubiquitous Dordogne river. The belvedere de la Barre offers an exceptional panorama. Parking lots with parking meters are located outside the enclosure. Again it was full when I left. I had selected the Vitrac / Montfort service area as a bivouac.
Tuesday August 25th I made the pilgrimage into Rocamadour, here, going up and down the stairs to reach the sanctuary, but without kneeling at each step because I could not have got up! In addition, I walked the Way of the Cross, stopping at each of the 13 stations that meanders to the castle. At the 13th station in the back of a cave a Pietà symbolizes the entombment. All of the buildings are attached to the cliff face 150 meters above the Alzou canyon. Most of the buildings date from the restoration carried out in the 19th century. Arriving early, my visit lasted a little over two hours round trip to the car park at the foot of the path that leads to the "Les Jardins de la Louve" restaurant. Catholic agnostic I was peaceful as sanctified by this pilgrimage. As a reminder, the road before / after the tunnel has a hairpin bend that I negotiated several times on the return to the climb due to the traffic coming down! I bivouacked in Gramat.
Wednesday 26th I was walking in Figeac, here, following the circuit proposed by the Green Guide book while waiting for the opening of the Champollion Museum at 10:30 am! I discovered the old stately homes of the old regime before the French Revolution as well as those of wealthy traders. The St-Sauveur abbey, whose lighting highlights the nave and aisles, has an N.-D. De-Pitié with a three-panel altarpiece on the theme of the Passion and the Virgin of Pity. Of course the organ point is the Champollion Museum, here, dedicated to the invention of writing as well as to Champollion's scientific journey and more particularly the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone. I set up my bivouac at the Surgie campsite.
Thursday August 27th I was invited by Martine & Claude, (nonagenarian) in their manor of Cantarel where they warmly welcomed me. We spent a pleasant day in a sublime landscape of the Lot.
Friday August 28 was a rainy day. I quickly visited the closed church of Espagnac-Sainte-Eulalie. In addition, motorhomes are not welcome. There is no parking, you have to park on a loose dirt on the road after the bridge! The St-Pierre abbey in Marcilhac-sur-Célé, here, was a pleasant stopover but in the rain. The church was open. It consists of two parts, one in Romanesque style and the other in Gothic style with finely carved capitals. I had booked a visit to the prehistoric cave of Pech Merle, here, some galleries of which contain engravings and paintings dating back more than 30,000 years. The guided tour takes place in small groups due to Covid-19, unfortunately No Photo. I bivouacked at the Saut de la Mounine
Saturday August 29th, after making a detour to Figeac for food and diesel supplies, I continued on my way to Cordes-sur-Ciel, here. Well, one more medieval city to visit, certainly on a puech overlooking a landscape of great beauty. The Green Guide book promotes it by recommending spending the night there, well let's see! The ascent either by a very sloping street or by stairs is difficult. In addition, the municipality has installed parking meters specifying Saturday and Sunday included! The service area, at least, has a charge of € 7 per night. I bivouacked there one night.
Sunday morning, August 30, I left Cordes-sur-Ciel to visit Albi, where I arrived around 7.30 am to park my vehicle in the car park below the cathedral. While waiting for its opening at 9.00 am I will walk the tour, called Albithe Red, proposed by the green guide book in order to understand the real prosperity of the city in the 15th century with the trade in saffron and pastel. Then I discovered the Ste-Cécile cathedral, here, built from 1282 for a century for the shell! The points of interest are the porch and canopy, the rood screen and the choir, the Last Judgment painting under the great organ and finally the paintings in the vault. Unfortunately the visit lasts from 9.00 to 10.15 on Sunday to allow time to prepare the religious service from 11.00. At 10.30 am I entered the Palais de la Berbie to immerse myself in the world of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, here, a native of Albi, but who spent a large part of his life in Paris where he lived in a brothel in the 6 rue des Moulins. I left Albi around noon to go bivouac in Rodez.
|Jubé, the gothic roodscreen|
|Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec|