Why Visit Our Area?
Why do we love this region? Well the list is quite long: the weather is great, even in winter; the food, markets and attitude to terroir is just what we love; you will find walnuts, plums, ducks, foie gras, blonde d’aquitaine beef and lovely fruit and vegetable; the locals are very friendly and extremely helpful – try a little French with them, they want to understand and help; the history is fascinating, from medieval through the 100 years war to now; castles, cloisters, maison de maître, bastides, pigeonières, ravishing little villages and towns; and lovely green landscape even in summer.
The area is busy with tourists during July and August, and when we say ‘busy’ we don’t mean overcrowded. It is not the Dordogne, which these days can seem like a little England – mind you it’s beautiful and worth visiting. What is nice is that here we have a lot of French tourists plus a variety of other nationalities which include British, Dutch, Belgium, and a sprinkling of Americans, Germans and Italians. The French holiday mainly in August, and there are several Parisians with summer homes in the region. But the area is a good place to visit almost any time of year and a pleasure as it isn’t over-populated. If you are loo
king for sunshine we recommend any time from April to the end of October but you can find sunshine all year round albeit with a few cloudy patches in winter and usually a cold snap in January or February. Spring time is beautiful with sparkling days and billowing blossom, mid-summer can be quite hot but the plums and apricots are splendid and midnight suppers are so atmospheric; late summer and autumn are also very good times to visit as the temperature drops a little so you don’t get completely overpowered by it, the fruit and vegetables at this time of year are very good. Although in the south the countryside here is surprisingly green throughout the year, this is due to the various rivers the largest of which is the Lot which is a wide, languid, old lady that meanders through the region; adjacent department have the river Tarn, the river Garonne and the river Dordogne.
Many come here to try the ‘black wine’ of Cahors. the Malbec variety is king here, it produces a powerful red wine that is very smooth, dense and elegant, it ages well developing great aromatic tones. The smoothness is attributed to the climate here which is hot in summer but the summer nights alongside the Lot river are much cooler, it this contrast which is said to produce such smooth dark reds. There is a wine route along the Lot river which is followed by walker, cyclists and drivers; this ambles along side the picturesque Lot with its riverside cliffs and woods, there are many places to stay, to eat and to taste the local wines. The vineyards welcome visiters and there isn’t usually a great pressure to buy, rather to appreciate wines that are not widely known outside of France.
But there is so much to do – walking, climbing, cycling, horse related activities (riding, trekking, driving), wildlife watching, eating, drinking, relaxing, crafts, art – it is just too much to list, let’s just say if you want to experience provincial French life you will find it here at it’s most charming and full of all sorts of diversions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
There are markets every day of the week, our closest are in Puy L’Evêque and Prayssac both about 7 kilometres from home. The closest and our favorites are:
- Monday – Caussade, yes it is 70 km but it’s huge and the prices are good, also you can visit the hat museum.
- Tuesday – Puy L’Evêque, at the top of the town in front of the Marie unless there is an event or concert and also during the high season, then it moves to the lower entrance of town in the parking lot opposite Chez Henri
- Wednesday – Luzech, about 15 minutes drive, a lovely market and then lunch at Quai 5 by the river where Sonia does a prix fix
- Thursday – Monsempron Libos, a huge market just past Fumel and about 20 minutes drive
- Friday – Prayssac, only 5 minutes from us and really good, it encircles the church and is very pretty
- Saturday – Lauzerte, a lovely hilltop bastide with a lively market; also Montaigu-de-Quercy, very good
- Sunday – Montcuq, 20 minutes drive a very large vibrant market and afterwards lunch ar Café de France; also Cazals a small busy town with a good market
Because we are on the borders of three departments we have a lot of choice. We have created three Google calendars with all the market details and maps (from Grézels), each entry has the distance from Grezels in the name so if you use the Schedule view you can see at a glance what is close by on any given day , :
If you want to see more about markets here is a link to an information page[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Other Things to Do and Places to Go
When planning your days remember that here, in rural France, generally lunchtimes closures are the norm so shops will close between 12:00 and 14:00, also weekends are honoured so usually it is only the bakeries open on Sunday mornings. Do check the tourist information sites and offices as there are always new events.
Not an exhaustive list but something to get you started:
- There are a lot of small vineyards all of them offer wine tasting so you can easily spend several days sampling the local wines
- There are boat trips, canoe hire available over the river, day and night markets in all the surrounding villages in the summer season.
- This area has a strong pre-historic presence with cave paintings such as at Pech-Merle and caves in Padirac.
- Other Famous sites locally include the 15th Century fortified castle of Bonaguil, one of the last Chateau-Forts to be built in France,
- 12th Century Rocamadour – is a ‘village perché. a sacred pilgrimage site built up the side of a cliff. It is reported that miracles happened here by the grace of the Black Madonna and the shrine attracted pilgrims, saints and Kings such as Henry Plantagenet.
- Cahors is the capital of the Lot and built within the tight meander of the river Lot, it is about 35 minutes drive from Grézels.
- St.-Cirq-Lapopie is very picturesque, situated at the top of white cliffs, it is rather ‘touristy’ but beautiful.
- Latour Marliac is the site of the water lilies that were used by Money in Givenchy, the grounds are beautiful and they do a very good light lunch.