Hiker walking on the way to Santiago de Compostela in Quercy Blanc
Hiker walking on the way to Santiago de Compostela in Quercy Blanc
Mr Cochet
Outside

Two rejuvenating days on the way to Compostela in Quercy Blanc

Quercy Blanc
The Cahors-Vallée du Lot destination, a territory marked by the Causses and the Quercy Blanc, offers walks in the middle of bucolic landscapes. You will have the opportunity to discover this fantastic setting through a mythical path: the GR65, route from Puy en Velay to get to Santiago de Compostela. During the 80km that you will walk, you will discover many paintings that will all delight your heart.

Listen to Marjory tell you about her two days of fantastic hikes on the way to Compostela towards Quercy Blanc. Many surprises were revealed during her trip, and it is with pleasure that she tells us about her superb epics.

Leaving Cahors: delicious reality or exquisite dream? 

The beginning of my hike towards Quercy Blanc is a particularly strong and moving moment for me. Indeed, leaving Cahors offered me many surprises and I will always keep in mind the memory of this magical morning.

A treasure classified by UNESCO

The discovery of the Valentré bridge

We are at the very beginning of the day, it is seven o'clock. I walk through the narrow streets of the historic center of Cahors to find the famous scallops which tell me that I am on the GR65 again. Everything is calm, only the sound of my footsteps on the cobblestones of the city and the first songs of birds reach my ears. This silence is appreciable, and I have never felt so relaxed and in tune with myself.

I arrive at Valentré Bridge, the exit door from the old Caduran city with its undeniable charm. I remain speechless at the sight of this building classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The rising sun floods the defensive towers with a golden color, thus embellishing this majestic monument, oh so already sublime. The splendor of this moment almost convinces me to stay posted there to continue to admire the scene. But "el camino" is waiting for me.

So I cross the building to continue on my way. It is while passing under one of its defense towers that I see a mysterious creature watching me motionless. This is the famous devil of the Valentré bridge, whose legend says that he would have participated actively in the construction of the building following a pact he would have established with the architect of the time.

So I cross this remarkable bridge, and find myself climbing a cliff. The climb is steep, but it offers incredible views of the city. Quickly, I walk in the heart of a grove.

Valentré bridge from the Magne cross
Valentré bridge from the Magne cross
Mr Cochet
A most unexpected encounter 

A wild world that reveals itself

That's when an incredible and unexpected vision interrupts the flow of my thoughts. Two fawns running and playing together between the trees appear in front of me. Here I am literally frozen while they do not seem disturbed and continue to have fun like this for a few more moments.

It is by feeling the lack of air that I realize that I had stopped breathing in front of this scene which appeared to me like a mirage. It is therefore moved that I take the road again, and discover a superb view of the Valentré bridge and the city below. An immense joy invades me, and I realize how much this morning seems to be the harbinger of an idyllic day.

Crossing picturesque villages

 

1
Labastide-Marnhac Castle
Labastide-Marnhac Castle
Mr Cochet
A bastide and a green village

Labastide-Marnhac

My two days of hiking on the Cahors – Montlauzun section continued under the most beautiful hospices: radiant sunshine and sublime landscapes. Thus, I had the chance to discover charming little villages characteristic of Quercy Blanc.

I think first of all Labastide-Marnhac and its castle with various architectural styles located in a superb green setting. 

2
Stopover gîte in Lascabanes on the GR65
Stopover gîte in Lascabanes on the GR65
Mr Cochet
A village with devastating charm

Lascabanes

Or even Lascabanes, which struck me as the very representation of the typical French village, with its beautiful white stone houses with flowery facades, and its alley of plane trees leading to the village church. There I particularly appreciated the old presbytery, a building full of character that became a stopover lodge, which seemed to me like a little corner of paradise conducive to calm and relaxation.

3
Montcuq village view from the dungeon, near the GR65
Montcuq village view from the dungeon, near the GR65
Mr Cochet
A village of immaculate beauty

Montcuq-en-Quercy-Blanc

Last but not least, I admit I had a crush on Montcuq, a surprising village not for its name, but for its ivory beauty. Here, everything invites you to settle down in order to taste the little pleasures of life: a refreshing grenadine in one of the shady cafes in the central square, the sensation of dizziness generated by the observation of its imposing keep, a stroll in the alleys full of charm in the style of yesteryear...

Unsuspected wonders in the heart of a dense forest

Another element that I particularly appreciated during these two days of walking was the crossing of the woods before arriving at Montcuq. Indeed, before reaching the long-awaited village, you have to go through a magnificent forest with emerald foliage.

Gargantuan

Huge blocks of stone

Hardly I tread under the first foliage that a marvelous surprise appears: superb rocks of an impressive size stand in front of me. These monumental blocks of stone are particularly surprising because at no time would I have imagined finding rocks of such size on this path. This discovery diffuses in me the feeling of being tiny in the heart of this imposing nature.

impressionism

The Fountain of Wonders

My amazement then continues when, suffocating from the ambient heat, sounds of lapping gradually reach my ears. Then appears a wonderful fountain with crystal clear water inviting me to refresh my face. When I bend down to plunge my hands into this clear water, I realize that a dozen green frogs have taken up residence there. I then amuse myself for a few moments trying to find all the amphibians, whose color blends particularly well in this picture worthy of a painting by Monet. 

Push your limits... with joy!  

I have a secret to tell you: I'm not a great athlete, and hiking is a relatively new activity for me. Walking this path, I didn't know what to expect. How far could I go? After how many kilometers was I going to capitulate?

The last stage on this section in the south of the Lot allowed me to test my limits: in total, 30 kilometers awaited me on this last day of the journey. I have to tell you, this stage is not really flat! I started this section with a sublime climb on the side of the cliff; and when I saw Montlauzun from afar (which was my point of arrival), I immediately understood the reason for the word “Mont” in the name of this village! Thus, my journey would end in beauty.

Hike on the GR 6 - Ouysse Valley
Hike on the GR 6 - Ouysse Valley
Lot Tourisme - C. Novello
Personal discovery

Surpassing oneself

It was hot, very hot indeed. My legs felt heavy, yes. My feet were sore, sure. But I was determined to finish this section, to prove to myself that I could walk 30 kilometers in one day. I then climbed this famous hill heralding the end of my journey.

The magic of the moment

Every step is important

One step at a time is all that matters. This moment of effort gave me a precious gift: the value of the present moment. Indeed, at the end of this hike where exhaustion preoccupies our thoughts, the only thing that matters is THE next step leading to the summit. So, by concentrating on each of my steps one by one, without getting dizzy with all the distance I had to go, I succeeded! Here I am at the top of the village of Montlauzun!

Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela
Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela
G. Giuglio
An incredible itinerant hike What I retain

It is therefore with this feeling of victory, intense emotion and joy that my escapade on the GR65 in the Lot Valley ended. I feel deeply grateful to myself for making the decision to leave. In fact, if I hadn't done it, I would never have been able to experience all that I have experienced: incredible encounters that moved me to the depths of myself, the (re)discovery of a simple and unadorned life, the development of a new perception of me.

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