Home / TRAVEL / Hilltop towns in southwest France offer overwhelming views

Hilltop towns in southwest France offer overwhelming views

CIRQUE DE GAVARNIE, FRANCE – My debate beam is defeat along a slight soaring highway that overlooks a high ravine during what seems like Formula One speeds. There’s usually a unclothed smallest of a ensure rail on my right, and we’re tighten adequate to a automobile in front of us that I’m flattering certain we can see what radio hire a motorist is listening to.


Suddenly we swoop around a dilemma and it’s right there; a massive, grey, hilly round of mill and ancient mill rising adult during a finish of a low immature valley. There are angled edges and uniformly ragged bowls and rags of sleet in untrustworthy pockets in mid-summer. Just for good measure, there’s also a far-reaching badge of H2O spilling down a left side of a mill and descending hundreds of meters toward a hollow floor; one of a prettiest waterfalls I’ve seen and also a top in mainland France during an considerable 422 meters.

I’d seen cinema of this area of a Pyrenees plateau in southwest France, though a distance and sovereignty had transient me, as can mostly occur when one peers during little photos on an electronic mechanism shade to try to get a clarity of such a far-reaching and entirely considerable world. we forget all about a cars on a highway and my rapid float and repair my slack-jawed gawk during a plateau rising in front of me.

A few mins after we park a automobile in a little lot set among an alpine encampment filled with aged mill buildings and a sizeable series of visitors and set out on a two-hour walk, that is sadly all a time we have to check out a area. We transport an easy route alongside a grey stream of cold soaring water, with kids striking about and folks sunning themselves on rocks. We admire little farms dotted with pasture land and rolls of grain and mount adult a wooded route before reaching a far-reaching meadow filled with low immature weed and dim lavender wildflowers. I’m really many a object and beach person, though something about being around plateau like this is some-more enthralling, some-more deeply emotional. Walking along a silt during nightfall is romantic, though hiking among ancient, folded, spindled and soaring plateau that pierce a sky are some-more same to a eremite experience.

We bound behind in a automobile and conduct down a towering to a small, flattering city of Luz Saint-Saveur, where we watch bungee jumpers dive off a overpass over a low soaring valley. We also take a drop in a comfortable waters of a thermal bath done renouned by Napoleon III. 

Even improved is a brief revisit a subsequent morning to a tiny, bank encampment of Saint-Savin. It’s not on a categorical highway into a Gavarnie region, so it’s a place many tourists never see. I’m usually there for a few mins though we find a aged church enchanting, with an organ that reportedly dates to a midst 1500’s. Even improved is a aged joist home opposite a transport and a wooden arcades along a categorical street, where we mark maybe 4 people on a still, still Thursday in August.

The Aquitaine segment of France is sprinkled with dozens of other hilltop towns, many of them packaged with tourists in summer. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is a pleasing encampment that spills and tumbles down a bank unaware a Lot River, charity extensive views and slight streets packaged with restaurants and shops. Much incomparable though still desirable is Cordes-sur-Ciel, northeast of Toulouse.

One of a vital attractions in a area is a city of Lourdes, where we watch thousands of eremite pilgrims wait in line to see a site where a Virgin Mary is pronounced to have seemed before a immature French girl.

More than 6 million visitors a year from some-more than 140 countries revisit a city, that they contend has some-more hotel bedrooms than any city in France outward of Paris. we mark folks from around a universe praying during a several shrines or offered for Virgin Mary figurines and holy H2O from a town. 

On my approach to a city of Cahors we stop for a discuss and a few sips of booze at Chateau de Cedre. Co-owner Pascal Verhaeghe explains how it’s an organic winery that grows mostly Malbec grapes, used to make a famous black wines of Cahors with their deep, dim colours and full-bodied, sharp flavours.

From there it’s on to a city of Cahors, a poetic mark on a Lot River with a Romanesque/Gothic Cathedral with a classic, poetic retreat and a really Instragram-worthy, Gothic overpass called a Pont Valentre.

“The overpass was built as a means of counterclaim though it was never used to urge a town,” my debate guide, Virginie Seguin, tells me with a laugh. “We’re really good during things like that.”

I adore her clarity of humour and admire a city and a river, that is renouned with canoeists and kayakers. The area also attracts cyclists, booze enthusiasts and foodies who admire a uninformed meats and far-reaching accumulation of internal cheeses.

For some-more info:

http://www.tourisme-occitanie.com/, http://www.tourisme-lot.com/, http://www.tourisme-hautes-pyrenees.com/, http://www.tourisme-tarn.com/

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Jim Byers is a freelance author formed in Toronto. Email: jim@jimbyerstravel.com. Instagram: @jimbyerstravel1. Twitter: @jimbyerstravel 

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