Day 18: Montcuq to Lauzerte

Wednesday, 3 July 2002
Distance 14 km
Map 57 of the TOP 100 blue series (now superseded)
Topoguide (Ref 652) Sentier de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle Figeac/Cahors/Agen/Moissac

Walking in France: Lunch

Our dear Melbourne friends, who had pampered us for the last two days, walked with us to the outskirts of the town to see us on our way.

Once up the initial climb, there was no hardship in the track as it rose and fell gently amongst woods and farms. There were orchards of prunes, apricots and plums, all of which we sampled as we strolled under their branches.

Past the chapel of Rouillac and the tower of Montlauzan, the path climbed so suddenly that there was a rope handrail provided. From there we walked along the edge of a forested escarpment with the river Landou below on our left.

Wild blackberries sustained us until we sat down for lunch a the point where the track plummets towards the plain. From this grassy viewpoint, the walls and steeples of the hilltop town of Lauzerte seemed quite close, and indeed it did not take us long to arrive at the lower ring road.

Walking in France: Approaching Lauzerte
Approaching Lauzerte

The camping ground was about a kilometre around to the right.

Although it was one of the most unprepossessing we had seen, with mouldy caravans and rubbish strewn about, we settled in, had a sleep, then set off to examine the village high above.

Walking in France: Panel in the pilgrim's garden, Lauzerte
Panel in the pilgrim’s garden, Lauzerte

Lauzerte is a well-preserved example of a bastide town. The climb up was the most energetic thing we had done all day, but at the top we rewarded ourselves with a leisurely coffee in the square.

Just behind the ramparts there was a pilgrims’ garden, in which the plants and pathways were interspersed with numbered display panels, each with a photograph or an enigmatic verse relating to the experience of the original twelfth-century pilgrims.

There was a puzzle to solve in it all, but we did not succeed. Beyond the ramparts our way for tomorrow was laid out like a map.

Despite the charm of the place, it was hard to find somewhere to eat and we ended up in a pizzeria, something we have not been reduced to since Provence. However, as the weather had turned cold, it was pleasant eating pizzas in the warm interior.

We were lucky that we had completed the long downhill climb to our tent before the rain arrived.

Previous day: Second rest day in Montcuq

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