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LOUBRESSAC Feel free to challenge me, but there is no more delicious goat’s cheese than Rocamadour Fermier, made at the Ferme Cazal in Loubressac, and served with warm honey. Have lunch in the Restaurant Lou Cantou in Loubressac, with a view reaching out across the stunning Causse de Gramat, and finish your meal with the cheese; you’ll see what I mean. To be fair, there are a number of farms producing Rocamadour goat’s cheese, and they are all delicious. The charming village of Loubressac commands a heart-warming view of the lush Dordogne and Bave valleys, its narrow and sinuous village lanes converging on a shady square that the Romanesque church of St-Jean-Baptiste dominates. The medieval houses, topped with antique tiles, turn golden coloured in the evening sun and encourage you to linger and explore; many have decorative balconies and painted shutters. And yet, compact as it is, the village has a surpriisng number of delightful twists and turns. To add to its charm, Loubressac has twice been awarded the accolade of the finest ‘village fleuri’ in the Midi-Pyrenees. It is the sort of village that evokes another time, another place, and a bygone era where everything seems to be at peace – even though it wasn’t always. Visiting walkers will find that a number of trails radiate from the village centre into verdant countryside. Anyone seeking away-from-it-all-ness will find it here.
AUTOIRE I had something of a duel with the wine merchant in Autoire, and lost, to the tune of six bottles of Marcillac, six rosé, and three bottles of Gaillac bubbly – we can’t call it champagne! To be honest, I was all T-eed up earlier for a similar dual in Loubressac, but it was lunchtime, and even wine sellers have to eat...for three hours apparently! Autoire has gathered its heritage of pigeon lofts, brown tiled roofs and country manor houses in the hollow of a cirque on the limestone plateau between Figeac and Gramat over centuries; yet it remains small enough not even to register on some tourist maps. The village takes its name from the mountain stream that gushes down from the Causse de Gramat plateau in a series of waterfalls that are a delight to visit, just outside the village. Under several baronages, in the 14th century Autoire became one of the vassal dependencies of the viscountcy of Turenne. Even so, the protection the village needed when the English arrived, confident and alldefeating from their conquest of Haut Quercy, was not forthcoming, and Autoire saw more than its fair share of destruction during the Hundred Years War. In the 16th century, the Calvinists laid waste to the village, and peace did not return until 1588. Today, the village is serene and peaceful, a perfect walking base for the GR480 and eight other walking trails, with plenty of scope for mountain biking and fishing. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Tourist information: Vallée de la Dordogne, www.vallee-dordogne.com If planning on having lunch in Loubressac, it might be wise to make a reservation: www.loucantou.com
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Our Contributors Karen Booth-Burns
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