Located in south-western France, Rocamadour is known for housing a statue of the Black Madonna and the tomb of Saint Amadour.
This Citadel of Faith has been a famous pilgrimage site since the 12th century and houses an architectural treasure from the medieval period.
Built on several levels on the cliff side, the village clings to the rock 120 metres above a canyon through which flows the Alzou, a tributary of the Dordogne. Its houses, roofs and churches seem to be part of the rock and the view is absolutely spectacular.
In a breathtaking medieval setting, 120 metres above the Alzou canyon, the village of Rocamadour will take you back to the Middle Ages, when kings and other pilgrims followed the road to Santiago de Compostela to venerate the black virgin of Rocamadour and the tomb of Saint Amadour .
You enter the town through Porte du Figuier before following Rue de la Couronnerie: this is the main street of the perched village, very lively and full of shops and restaurants.
You will then come to a monumental staircase: via 233 steps you will reach the square where the churches and chapels cling to the rock face. For those who don’t feel up to tackling the staircase, the municipality has provided a convenient lift to the sanctuary.
Also not to be missed is a tour of the ramparts: there are several vantage points from which to take spectacular photographs of the medieval village.
As a place of pilgrimage, Rocamadour is rich in religious buildings: they are all grouped in the same place, on the Parvis des Eglises.
The churches and chapels were built high up to show off their grandeur to pilgrims. Already in the Middle Ages, Rocamadour aroused admiration and veneration. In the 12th century, pilgrims travelled from all over Europe to come and pray in this sacred place. The village held the relics of Saint-Amadour and the sanctuary of the Black Madonna.
Destroyed during the Wars of Religion and then during the Revolution, the Chapel of Notre-Dame was renovated in the 19th century. Famous throughout the world, pilgrims flock there to admire the 9th century bell but above all its famous Black Madonna, a small black wooden figure dating from the 12th century with an impressive aura.
The Church of Saint-Amadour is located below the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur. Surprising and original, it is a true masterpiece that perfectly blends Romanesque and Gothic art. It houses the relic of Saint Amadour, whose body was found intact during a burial in 1166.
The basilica, on the other hand, is in Romanesque-Gothic style and inside you can admire a magnificent polychrome wooden Christ dating back to the 16th century.
It is without doubt the most majestic building in the city. Inside you will find magnificent frescoes depicting sacred scenes, such as the Annunciation, as well as a splendid Christ in Majesty surrounded by evangelists.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The village of Rocamadour is nestled in a vast territory composed of forests of small oaks and chasms in the ground, small villages of the Quercy and the Dordogne valley.
About 30 minutes from Rocamadour, the Gouffre de Padirac is a natural cavity of monumental dimensions, a good 35 metres in diameter. It was formed following the erosion and collapse of the vault of an old underground chamber.
After a vertiginous descent to the centre of the earth, at a depth of 103 metres (in a lift), we set off on a 1 hour 30 minute tour to discover the meanders of the underground, with a boat ride on the underground river.
The river creates a labyrinth of cavities in the most bizarre shapes: mushrooms, lacework of rock, imaginative conformations. You will arrive at the Lac de la Pluie and its translucent waters and then admire the Grande Pendeloque, a 60-metre-high giant stalactite that, as if suspended by a thread, seems to be reflected on the surface of the Lac de la Pluie.
Finally, after docking, continue on foot to the Salle du Grand Dôme, whose vault is 94 metres high. You can admire a multitude of concretions modelled by nature over millions of years. An incredible journey through the history of the earth, in what is considered one of France’s greatest geological curiosities.
Marguerite Lamothe was only fourteen years old, on 16 October 1920, when she let herself and her father slip into this hole that had suddenly opened at the bottom of their garden in Rocamadour.
What they found underground was wonderful. Shallow and modest in size, the Cave of Wonders first seduces with its crystalline concretions. But the real attraction are the 70 prehistoric drawings preserved in the dark, dating back more than 20,000 years: hands, horses, deer, ibex, cave lions and many other signs left by our ancestors.
Thanks to these paintings, the cave has been classified as a Historical Monument since 1925. The visit is guided and takes 45 minutes from April to November
The Ouysse river has its source in Espeyroux, at the foot of the Massif Central, in the north-east of the Lot département.
The great peculiarity of this tributary of the Dordogne is that most of its course is underground and its exact course is still largely unknown. The torrent disappears underground at Thémines, to reappear on the surface only a few dozen kilometres downstream, in the form of resurgences at Cabouy and Saint-Sauveur.
Here, an emerald pool illuminates the oak undergrowth and offers a dazzling landscape worthy of a fairy tale. The green waters of the Ouysse then cross the canyon near the Alzou to Lacave, where they flow into the Dordogne. To admire them in all their gaudy colour, you should take a hiking trail: the 7.4-kilometre PR06 or the 16-kilometre VD29.
Two fortified watermills were erected along the route of the Ouysse River towards Lacave.
Le Moulin de Caoulet is now a fish farm. The Mill of Cougnaguet has retained its function and the entire mechanism with stone millstones is in operation. Enchanting for its location and natural setting, it is open for visits and definitely worth a diversion.
Charming and picturesque, Rocamadour amazes both by its location and its beauty: overlooking the Alzou canyon, the village perched on the mountainside stands out in the glittering landscapes of the Lot.
To appreciate the beautiful stronghold, the best choice is to stay directly in the centre of Rocamadour: you will experience a decidedly atmospheric atmosphere, especially at night, when most tourists leave the town.
The village has a wide range of hotels: there are several very charming and comfortable establishments in the heart of the citadel. However, the price may be prohibitive due to the very high rates.
On the outskirts of the medieval town, you will find hotels offering more modest and affordable prices. The heart of the town is easily accessible by a short walk, lift or bicycle ride.
Staying on the outskirts of Rocamadour is also a good idea if you want to visit some tourist and natural attractions near the village. In the L’Hospitalet neighbourhood, for instance, there is a wildlife park dedicated to monkeys, the Monkey Forest, as well as the Grotte des Merveilles, a cave with prehistoric paintings.
The Blanat district is recommended for those arriving by train, in case you need to stay close to the Rocamadour-Padirac station.
On the other hand, the La Gardelle neighbourhood is a good option for those who love nature. Nestled in the heart of the Dordogne, it is ideal for those planning beautiful hikes in the two valleys of Ouysse and Alzou.
Rocamadour is located in the heart of Occitania: the quickest way to visit is to land nearby and then rent a car to reach the village.
What's the weather at Rocamadour? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Rocamadour for the next few days.
In the Occitania region, the village is extremely picturesque and one of the most beautiful villages in France.