St Cirq Lapopie to Rocamadour - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 30, 2024

St Cirq Lapopie to Rocamadour

A day in a headwind

A hilly day with a few steep pitches.
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As usual, the French train system gave us fits. Our destination today was Rocamadour. Rather than heading straight north to Rocamadour, a number of cycleblazers had suggested a better option would be to take an easterly route along the Celes River. This alternative route allows cyclists to enjoy the gorge while being protected from the wind. The ride drops you at a small train station Capdenac where you can take a 30 minute TER train to Gramat and have a dramatic 10 k ride into Rocamadour. Besides avoiding the typical northernly headwind it reduces the cumulative elevation gain by about half. So, we planned to do the  route to Capdenac and then take rhe train. However….

When we checked the SCNF schedule the day before leaving, we saw  ominous red language next to the route saying there was a landslide between Rodez and Capdenac which was impacting the schedule. Our train would be running north of the landslide location but it didn’t identify clearly enough whether the whole line was impacted so… we decided we couldn’t risk it and decided to take the northerly direct route, sans train. 
We had a good laugh with our innkeeeper Fabian about it. He said that everyone wants to take the train but they don’t because of these problems which are common.

The morning view from our room showed how foggy the start of our ride would be.
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Dave climbing up from the hotel.
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And Jill ascending on our first climb of the day.
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We took off after breakfast. It was a chilly, windy ride, indeed with the predicted headwind in our faces all day.  We guessed wrong on the rain again and had to stop 3 k out of town to add our booties and arm warmers when a minor drizzle picked up to real rain. It didn’t last too long so the primary weather driver all day was the head wind. It was a hard day with some steep climbs as we cut north through the The Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, all of which was pretty but not spectacular. The last few k into Rocamadour was hard and steep but we stopped a number of times to look at the views of Rocamadour clinging to the cliff.

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We are curious about these old rock walls which were everywhere in the region. We have no idea how old they are, but they were built without mortar.
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Once we reached the river, we were treated to some cool views.
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Scott AndersonI recognize that spot! It’s the Défile Anglaise, at Bouzies. We stayed there with Susan Carpenter and the Meyer-Wearys two autumns ago.
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2 weeks ago
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Karen PoretThis is absolutely breathtaking and unique! Thank you for sharing it with us!
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1 week ago

We actually were booked at the hotel Belvedere in L’Hospitalet, outside of Rocamadour and pulled up to the first hotel to check in. The clerk denied knowing about us, so I pulled out our reservation; we were at the Hotel Bellevue,  not Belvedere, and she walked outside to point across the way to the correct inn.

The hotel Belvedere is part of the Logis chain, and it was a modest hotel with 20 rooms and a very nice restaurant that had a view of La Citè Medieval. We had a small room in the lower level - felt like a daytime basement - but it had a tub so we recovered and went down for dinner and sat next to a couple with a very nice retriever.

The medieval town of Rocamadour was settled in the early 12th century and quickly gained fame as a destination for religious pilgrimages. The town's name comes from St. Amadour whose nearly intact body was discovered in 1166 during a burial ceremony. Pilgrims came to pray before the statute of the Black Madonna which also dates from the 12th century. 

The valley with Rocamadour perched on the distant hillside.
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The first views of this unlikely town were impressive.
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Our next door dining companions.
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Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 1,153 km (716 miles)

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