While the old provinces of Haut Quercy and Quercy – the land between the Dordogne and the Lot rivers and between the Lot and the Garonne, Aveyron and Tarn – largely correspond to the modern-day Lot département, it makes sense, for convenience’s sake, to group them together with the gorges of the River Aveyron and Villefranche-de-Rouergue on the edge of the province of Rouergue.

The area is hotter, drier, less well known and, with few exceptions, less crowded than the Dordogne, though no less interesting. The cave paintings at Pech-Merle are on a par with those at Les Eyzies, while Najac has a ruined castle (and fabulous views) to rival those of the Dordogne. The towns of Figeac and Villefranche-de-Rouergue are without equal, as is the village of St-Antonin-Noble-Val, and stretches of country such as that below Gourdon, around Les Arques where Ossip Zadkine had his studio, and the Célé valley.

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