I wasn't sure what to expect when we headed south from Giverny to the Midi-Pyrenees region of Southern France. But when we rounded the final bend around the bluffs to St.-Cirq-Lapopie, I was mesmerized.
The entire village is perched on the side of a steep cliff. The buildings cling to the rocks and their facades blend in to the natural stone as if camouflaged. The most prominent is a church, which sits tall above the rest of the village. I wandered the single main street that meanders down the steep hillside and was captured by the quaint shops, brasseries, and galleries.
I'm not usually a morning person, but during my stay in St.-Cirq-Lapopie, I was excited to rise before sunrise each morning, and climb the hills to capture the beautiful village being cast by the first light of the day. But it was actually a happy, and lucky, surprise at sunset that I am most proud of. During an overcast day, I sat one evening in wait of a sunset I was sure was not going to happen. My hope had been to catch the light of the sunset bathing the town just before it lowered below the hillside. I had almost given up. When suddenly, the sun broke through the clouds, just for a moment. I had my camera ready, and I caught it. It was like a sunburst winking at me, just for a moment. And then it was gone. But the photo captured it forever. (Sorry, you'll have to wait to see that shot until I return home! For now, enjoy these snapshots.
St.-Cirq-Lapopie is a quiet, out-of-the-way place, but has a fair number of visitors each year, see The Guardian's recent article featuring the town. It is at least 30 kilometers of winding, narrow backroads from anywhere else. But so quaint, it was named one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ("The most beautiful villages of France"). I agree-it is a designation much deserved.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the wonderful hotel that we stayed at. Set just across the river from the village, with a beautiful morning view, the Hotel Saint Cirq is as charming as it is relaxing.