My last entire weekend in France is officially over, which means that I only have one week left. Thinking about this is quite depressive. On one hand, I do miss my home (especially my bed and bathroom), family and friends and I’m looking forward to my last year at university (even though it’s going to be a hard year), but on the other hand, I kind of wouldn’t mind having more weeks of work here. One thing is sure, there’s a lot of stuff that I’ll miss about this experience, both the people and the way we work here. This will be probably the last time I’ll write a post about my time in France before I go back to Portugal. As we did on the last weekend (you can see the post I made about it here), we decided to do another one day trip. I didn’t go with the same group of people, which is something that makes me feel sad because I’d love to still have my buddy with me, who has already flew back to the United States. This time, thankfully, all the planing was super easy because there were only five of us and everyone had the same idea – going to Les-Eyzies. However, after talking to one of our coordinators, we decided to change our plans: we ended up by wanting to see Pech Merle and Rocamadour, since our money on a rented car would be better spent this way. I’ll organize this post in the same way I did for the last one.
We didn’t do much at this little village but we stopped there to get some coffee, since we woke up too early. I’m only showing it because I thought it was cute. Our journey today was all done in the Lot department; the department next to the one where we live and work – Dordogne. Something that I didn’t notice before entering the town, is that we were in the Midi-Pyrénées region, where I’ve been in previous years. I was going to said that this is one of my favourite regions in France but that would be a total lie, because I cannot choose just one; I would have to say that they are all pretty in their own particular way. One of the main things I liked about this little village was the fact that it is surrounded by hills and mountains. This is definitely one of my favourite types of landscape.
This was our first stopped. In this town we have the Grotte de Pech Merle. I honestly thought that this cave was closed to the public, so I am pretty damn happy that I was absolutely wrong. Thank you so much D. for telling us about this cave. This is another example of a prehistoric cave painting site, discovered in 1922 by two teenage boys – André David and Henri Dutetre. This is actually funny, because Lascaux I was also discovered by teenage boys, who ended up exploring the cave after randomly discovering it. The paintings are dated from the Gravettian, one of the cultures of the Upper Paleolithic. However, some paintings may be dated from the Magdalenian culture. It was the use of charcoal in some of the paintings that made it possible to date the paintings and the presence of humans in that cave. As we can see at Rouffignac, there’s also evidence of bears in Pech Merle; they would have used the cave as a place to hibernate.
This cave has also a limited number of people allowed to visit it, every day. I believe the limit is 700 people per day. The tours are organized in groups of 25 people. The prices aren’t too expensive – an adult ticket costs 10€ – and the ticket is valid for the cave tour, the museum and the film they exhibit at the entrance. We were five people, which would mean we’d have to pay 50€, but the woman was so nice that she made us a huge discount: we ended up by paying only 18€ for the five people. I have yet to find a prehistoric painted cave that will create a wow factor on me, as the Niaux cave did. However, I really (really) loved this cave. Just the geological part of it was absolutely beautiful. It’s such a shame that I could not take photos of it. And the paintings are also amazing. I’ll show you below some of the most famous paintings of this cave – the pictures we taken from the Internet, since we’re not allowed to record films or take photos inside the cave.
And we ended up our day at the town of Rocamadour. This time we didn’t visit or do much stuff because we had to deliver our car before 6pm, which didn’t give us much time. This town is also located in the Lot department, in the Midi-Pyrénées region. “Rocamadour has attracted visitors for its setting in a gorge above a tributary of the River Dordogne, and especially for its historical monuments and its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which for centuries has attracted pilgrims from every country, among them kings, bishops, and nobles.”. This town is also famous for giving its name to a small goat’s milk cheese. Since I got to France, that I’ve heard a lot of people talking wonders about this town. This town is absolutely beautiful and I wish I had more time to properly see it. You leave you car (if you arrived there in one) at the parking lot at the bottom of the gorge, unless you wanna pay for a very (very) limited car park spot that is available. You can climb all the way to the town entrance by foot or you can go on a little train. We took the train because it was raining heavily and because we thought that the climb would be big. However, we couldn’t be more far from the truth. The climb is not that big and it is easy to do. So, if you don’t wanna spend extra money, go by yourself.
This town is absolutely gorgeous, especially for the fact that it is completely connected to the mountain. I’ve never seen anything like this before. And the view from the church or chapel is absolutely astonishing. Also, this is a medieval town, which even makes it more interesting and beautiful. I absolutely love the architecture from this period. I totally recommend this town to anyone visiting the Lot department.