After many years of walking past it, around it and near it, we had finally got to the town of Figeac, and it was a real pleasure. The route we took to the north from there was not the standard pilgrim way, but we saw a few pilgrims doing the variant via Rocamadour. Normally we meet no other walkers.
This section of our walk traversed the pre-Napoleonic province of Quercy, an area whose tumultuous history reflected the desirability of the land. After the Roman conquest it was part of Aquitania until it was overrun by the Franks in the sixth century. By the tenth century its rulers were the ubiquitous counts of Toulouse, and during the chaos of the Hundred Years’ War the whole province was ceded to England, an unhealthy state of affairs that only lasted a few decades.
Later it became a bastion of Protestantism and suffered atrociously in the Wars of Religion of the sixteenth century. Subsequent disasters such as the revolt of the nobles known as the Fronde, the Revolution and the two World Wars of the twentieth century merely continued the pattern. Today the province is at peace.
Our path crossed the Causse de Gramat, between the Lot and the Dordogne rivers, but there were plenty of smaller rivers along the way, and the countryside was a patchwork quilt of pastures, crops and woods laid over the curves of the land.
From Gramat we followed the rugged gorge of the Alzou to Rocamadour, and the following day the placid meadows beside the Ouysse, crossing the Dordogne at one of the most tightly twisted sections of its course. Souillac, with its sprawling abbey, was familiar to us from an earlier trip and a pleasant place to revisit.
Day 6: Figeac to Lacapelle-Marival
Day 7: Lacapelle-Marival to Gramat
Day 8: Gramat to Rocamadour
Day 9: Rocamadour to Souillac