The medieval city of Rocamadour

Are you planning to spend your next holiday in the Dordogne Valley? If so, you must go to Rocamadour, Favourite Village of the French in 2016. Clinging to the cliff 120 metres above the Alzou canyon, the village lies in the heart of the Parc des Causses du Quercy. Comprising 4 fortified gates, the origins of the holy citadel city date back to the 12th century.
According to legend, the hermit Saint Amadour lived in the town for a long time and even built a shrine. A perfectly preserved body was found in 1166 where the sanctuary stands today: it is said to be that of Saint Amadour.

The village thus bears his name. It is the site of miracles in Rocamadour, attracting many faithful.

Renowned throughout Europe, pilgrims flock to this citadel lying on Santiago de Compostela trail. Rocamadour is only an hour’s drive from Sarlat campsite.

Plundered during the Renaissance and then during the French Revolution, it was later restored and remains a must on the Compostela route.

Today, pilgrims and visitors can discover the sanctuary, comprising the Saint-Sauveur Basilica and the Saint-Amadour Crypt, declared a World Heritage by UNESCO, and 7 other chapels, atop a 200 step climb.

The village is built on 3 successive levels, representing the 3 levels of medieval society: knights, clerics and workers. The citadel is world famous. Located only 50 km from Sarlat, Rocamadour is a must-see in the Dordogne. From Rocamadour, you will be an hour’s drive from Beynac and La Roque Gageac.

Stroll through the streets of Rocamadour

After passing through the Porte du Figuier, at the entrance to the village, continue along the Rue de la Couronnerie, the village’s only street.

Full of life, it offers a large number of restaurants where you can discover the local products as well as the essential shops where you can find a souvenir of your stay. You reach the Grand Escalier: 216 steps lead to a square from where you can visit the eight churches.

The Basilica of St. Saveur, built in the Romanesque-Gothic style, has a wooden mezzanine dating from the 19th century, which was built to accommodate many pilgrims.

A colourful 16th century Christ adorns the nave. In the Notre-Dame chapel, you will discover the Black Madonna, a splendour that pilgrims have been coming to honour for more than 1,000 years and which nestles in the rocky cavity of the cliff. This wooden statuette dates from the 12th century.
As you continue your ascent to the top of the village, you will arrive at the castle of Rocamadour. Its ramparts were built between the 13th and 14th centuries. The castle, part of the city’s defence system, was restored in the 19th century. It offers an exceptional view of the village.

The Regional Nature Park of the Causses du Quercy extends around Rocamadour. A quiet and relaxing natural environment full of history in the heart of the Dordogne Valley.

Top 5 activities in Rocamadour

Hot air balloon ride: Take off from the foot of the citadel and soar for 1 hour over the valley’s castles. Allow 1 hour for the preparation of the balloon. Booking essential, ride depends weather conditions. €200 per person; €100 from 10 to 14 years old. Minimum height required: 1.20 m.

One of the biggest events of the year is the Montgolfiades of Rocamadour (hot-air balloon festival).

  • Ramparts of Rocamadour: Immerse yourself in the 14th century remains with an extraordinary view of the Alzou canyon. Guided tour: €2, all year round from Monday to Sunday.
  • Rocher des Aigles Ecopark: Visit the park and see shows with birds of prey and parrots. Plan to arrive 10 minutes before the show starts. Open every day, €11 per person, €7 from 4 to 13 years old.
  • Forest of Monkeys: A 1.5-hour photo opportunity: discover more than 150 endangered species of Barbary macaques living in freedom in a 20 ha forest. See their feeding time. Admission: €9; €5.50 for children aged 5 to 14.
  • Durandal Park: 3 equestrian shows (stunts, fights, humorous acts) and pony rides. From €7 to €16 per show, from €18 to €30 for the 3 shows and free for children under 6.