The pale stone houses of St-Cirq-Lapopie, staggered down the steep hillside above the south bank of the Lot, appear almost fairy-tale-like as you approach from the east. The village was saved from ruin when poet André Breton came to live here in the early twentieth century, and though it’s now an irresistible draw for the tour buses, with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered houses and flower-strewn balconies, it’s still well worth a visit, especially early or late in the day, when the buildings glow in the sunlight. From behind the tourist office, a steep path leads up to the top of the cliff, once the site of the town’s château, for commanding views over the river valley.

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