Well, it is certainly about time I get back to writing and posting, eh?
After a two-week hiatus spent with my family, I finally feel inspired again to give this little blog some attention. I have not yet mastered writing a bunch of posts and then scheduling them well in advance, as many bloggers do. Each one of my posts is such a labor of love, that I feel I have to be in the moment, writing and focusing on one at a time.
So, without further delay, it is back to the alluring southwest France we go! Come along with me to Rocamadour.
The sunniest day in France during my week-long visit in January was spent in medieval commune of Rocamadour, which is believed to be named after Saint Amadour. The setting is breathtaking, nestled in a gorge above one of the tributaries of the River Dordogne, which is a major focal point of Le Lot Département in the southwest of France.
At the base of the town are numerous homes, restaurants, cafes and shops catering to the massive tourist population that descends upon Rocamadour in the summer months. Towards the center of the lower town, a large flight of steps guide you above the homes and cafes to religious attractions like the Notre Dame and a sanctuary of the Virgin Mary ((not me; the other one)).
Rocamadour has been attracting pilgrims of all fame and age for centuries. It is said that many of these pilgrims climb the 216 steps on their knees as a symbol of penance, which I certainly did not attempt. Climbing them by foot was tiring enough!
As it was very much off-season at the end of January, the four of us ((Andrew, his mum & dad and I)) were part of the handful of visitors that day. I think the workers making repairs to the steps and buildings easily outnumbered us. I don’t recall seeing any of the shops open, so we took our time, admiring the ancient buildings and the remarkable setting of this commune of Rocamadour. The views from both the climb and the top are truly sensational. Not to mention how incredibly photogenic this place is, especially when you stay long enough for the clouds to separate to display the bluest January sky I’ve ever seen.
Pilgrim or not; high season or off-season, Rocamadour is not to be missed. Climbing the umpteen ((and that IS a real word! I looked it up to confirm!)) steps and wandering down coved alleys and entering into dark, serene sanctuaries was nothing short of astounding. Every day of my return to France was spent equally puzzled and astonished at how such ancient structures have survived for so long. Granted, many of them have been rebuilt over the years and we never really know if any part of them are actually original. And yet here they are, welcoming you to their world and tempting you with thoughts of what they have seen and experienced.
Which of the photos is your favorite from Rocamadour?