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Tourist France - Lot Valley

Updated on February 26, 2012

Conques

The Lot valley is a stunning area, with some great scenery, in La France Profonde, or deepest France. Conques is a very small medieval village based on a pilgrim route, and retains a lot of its original charm. There is a small museum containing holy relics, various bits of saints, arms, legs, fingers etc, which were then encased in jewels and metalwork - sort of interesting, up to a point! - but, it must be said, a bit disturbing.

The stone carving on the abbey porch is 11th century, and anyone interested in architecture or history would find a lot of great buildings. If you are at all into medievalism, or even just the plain weird, Conques has the "wow" factor. It's probably much the same as it was two hundred years ago.

There are many deserted mountain roads which are great for driving, or you can just follow the river - probably ideal for cyclists too.

There are several good hotels in the area of the Vallee Du Lot - we stayed at one right by the riverside - see pictures below. It's easy to do your own online booking and you can get some great rates that way.

Lot Valley - near Entraygues Sur Truyere

Conques

Abbey at Conques

Further North

Further north is Figeac, a great little town, where Champollion lived. M.Champollion is celebrated for deciphering hieroglyphics. His old house is now a museum of Writing and it's an enthralling place to visit. Somehow the French have a gift for museums and classy presentation, and this is a good example. It's really artistic, educational and interesting, and there are many ancient Egyptian artefacts on display, plus interactive hi-tech applications.Outside is a replica of the Rosetta stone. When I found it a poodle was converting it into a doggie toilet. No respect for hieroglyphics or erudition. 

Getting there

We flew to Rodez on Ryanair - it's a small airport with no hassle. Just the perfect travel experience, except for the airport staff, who are French.

Many enquiries can be answered with a shrug and the immortal words "C'est pas mon problem"!!

You really need a car to explore this area. Rodez is really a nice town, with lots of character, but there's not much to do. It's surrounded by beautiful, well-fortified, medieval towns and lovely countryside. As with most of France, vegetarians can be fairly disappointed with the choices on offer, and sometimes this is just an invitation to ridicule.

What this region does well is peace and quiet. It's great for picnics, wonderful scenery and architecture.

A little further afield is the historic town Albi, which again is well worth a visit. It is home to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum, one of the best art galleries you'll find anywhere, and full of fantastic paintings and poster designs. Although his pictures are well known many of them are on a massive scale, and you can't really appreciate their brilliance from reproductions. This is really a must-see attraction, and largely unknown it seems.

In fact, I'd go further, and say it's probably one of the best art museums in France, or even Europe, without the hassle of crowds and a very special atmosphere.


Toulouse-Lautrec was from a wealthy aristocratic family in this area, before achieving fame as an artist in Paris. He overcame tremendous physical disability to become one of the most influential artists of his age, and turned the poster into a form of art.

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    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Daniel - it's Entraygues Sur Truyere. The area is pretty stunning.

    • profile image

      Daniel 

      8 years ago

      Hi Jon, can I ask: what is the name of the pretty riverside village in the photo? Daniel

    • profile image

      jon green 

      9 years ago

      Thanks Princessa - another great place is Belle Isle. It's all in the name really! It's in Brittany, and you can take a ferry from Quiberon. Fantastic beaches, and almost like going back to the 1940s - ideal for cycling with children. Cheers, Jon Green

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      I'll need to check around that area, it looks very nice. Sorry to hear you did not find a very good choice of meals for vegetarians, I am afraid the French menu outside big cities, does not cater for vegeterians or any other special needs. However, if you ask in a restaurant for a special meal (we do ask for that sometimes for the children) the cook can 'invent' something to your taste.

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      9 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks Tony - Ryanair flights to Rodez are a bargain. It is a great part of France. We also liked Carcasonne and the Rennes-le-Chateau area - but see one Holy Grail and you've seen them all.

      Cheers, Jon

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Love this area of France myself - not that I've been there that often. My late brother's widow Maxine still lives in the Moulin de Madone in the commune of Monclar dAgenaise in the Lot et Garrone region. Beautiful, beautiful area with such gorgeous villages and old buildings.

      Love and peace,

      Tony

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