The igue de Crégols
The igue de Crégols
C. Bouthé - Vent d'Autan
Walk to discover the flora of the Causses du Quercy PNR
Walk to discover the flora of the Causses du Quercy PNR
C. Pelaprat
Canoeing on the Lot along the towpath to Saint-Cirq Lapopie
Canoeing on the Lot along the towpath to Saint-Cirq Lapopie
J.Morel
Aerial view of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
Aerial view of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
Lot Tourisme - C. Novello
Mountain biking in the Causses du Quercy PNR
Mountain biking in the Causses du Quercy PNR
C. Pelaprat
Discover

The Causses du Quercy, UNESCO Global Geopark

A very rich fauna and flora but also important cultural sites such as the Gouffre de Padirac, the Grottes du Pech Merle, the Phosphatières du Cloup d'Aural or even Saint-Cirq Lapopie in the south and Rocamadour in the very north.

Discover the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, UNESCO Global Geopark since May 1, 2017, by walking or cycling the limestone plateaus covered with dry grasslands or oak forests. Let yourself be carried away to the rhythm of the river by boat or canoe, in the heart of surprising cliffs.

The Causses of the Regional Natural Park

Caselle on the causse in Espédaillac
Caselle on the causse in Espédaillac
C.Asquier

There are three causses (characteristic karstic plateaus) within the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park. These are the Causses of Gramat, Saint-Chels and Limogne.

These territories are very dry and suitable for sheep farming. There are many caves and underground caverns sculpted by water.

Fauna and flora are very present in the Causse de Limogne, on a wooded area covered with dry lawns. There is also scams (also called "black diamond" for its value and rarity) in its basements.

You will be able to discover in the Causse de Limogne, a rich and varied landscape through various long-distance hiking routes, in particular the Way of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle.

The Causse of Limogne

Gateway to the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, south of Cahors, the Causse of Limogne stands out for its uniqueness and originality. Remarkable natural architecture, hiking trails and local products, make this little-known place a unique place to discover and explore.

Pterosaur Beach
Pterosaur Beach
Pterosaur Beach

Causses du Quercy: UNESCO Global Geopark

Walk to discover the flora of the Causses du Quercy PNR
Walk to discover the flora of the Causses du Quercy PNR
C. Pelaprat

The local geology has left its mark almost everywhere on the territory, shaping the identity of the Causses du Quercy and hiding real treasures there. 

What is a Geopark?

It is a label that is awarded to territories with a remarkable geological heritage.

The action of the Geoparks is divided into 4 parts:

  • The identification, protection and preservation of geoheritages.
  • Education, training and awareness.
  • Geotourism.
  • Cooperation with other geoparks.

The Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park was labeled a UNESCO Global Geopark in May 2017.

Nature and its treasures

Along a walk, discover the resplendent flora of the causse. Depending on the season, you will discover truffle oaks, orchid, common junipers, maples, dogwoods, privet, cherry trees and many others.

In fields of mauve color hide the flowers that produce the famous safran, a marvel of the region that goes well with many dishes. The secrets of this spice with its bewitching aroma can be revealed to you during visits to the farm.

rich in taste, truffle called "black diamond" also makes the reputation of the causse and is present during markets which take place during the winter and summer seasons. In the past, men went in search of it, accompanied by a pig, now replaced by dogs that are more docile to train.

Furthermore, it is also possible to discover phosphate mines or a luxurious vegetation awaits you, in a natural site with many secrets to reveal to you, witnesses of a bygone epic, but present in the details of this natural setting.

A setting suitable for all kinds of activities

In this setting where nature is queen, it is impossible to miss out on all the possible activities: from the most classic to the most original, from the quietest to the most sporty, each member of the family will find something to suit them.

The Causses, reservoirs of biodiversity

The dry lawns of the Causses du Quercy are maintained naturally by sheep and the "lakes" of Saint-Namphaise.

There is a diverse flora with orchids and Mediterranean species such as Pinnate stipe or thatch sandwort. The fauna also very present on the causse will offer you the possibility of seeing a ocellated lizard, for an loud edicnema (bird also called "phantom of the causse") but also small insects like theAzure wild thyme or the buzzard locust.

Sheltered by the cliffs, birds like the Peregrine Falcon, Great horned owl orrock swallow are appearing.

On the causses, aerated woods are formed by downy oaks and Montpellier maples. The slopes of the hills are covered with wooded massifs, places of life of the Short-toed snake eagle, a small eagle that eats snakes and lizards.

The "little people" of the Causses

P.Givernaud

  • The man : for millennia on the Causses, it has always lived with nature, from prehistory to breeders, builders, archaeologists, traders, truffle growers, saffron growers today.
  • Caussenard sheep: Sheep emblematic of the landscapes of the Causse, it is recognized by its "dark glasses". It contributes to the maintenance of dry lawns and scattered oak woods. You can taste the meat of his lambs which supplies a large part of the red label sector "farm Quercy lamb".
  • The Circaète Jean-le-Blanc: it is a diurnal raptor that hunts and feeds on reptiles in wide open areas. It builds its nest in extensive wild and wooded areas, little frequented by humans.

  • The sulfur ascalaph: a colorful insect often related (wrongly) to dragonflies and butterflies, it is also called “Ascalaphe dragonfly”. Classified among the neuroptera, it is a common species on the lawns of the Regional Natural Park. It feeds mainly on small insects such as flies.
  • Woodcock ophrys: To reproduce, the Orphys or Orchid reproduces the shape and smell of a female insect. The males therefore court the plant and leave loaded with pollen which they carry to another plant.
  • Common juniper (juniperus communis): very common shrub on the dry lawns of our territory, it has persistent needles. Juniper fruits can be used as condiments. Wood is used to make objects and furniture.

Sculptures on the towpath at night
Sculptures on the towpath at night
C. Cieslar
Spotlight on...

The black triangle of Quercy

The night sky of the Regional Natural Park is one of the least affected in France by artificial lights. A triangle of about thirty km² is therefore distinguished in the heart of the territory by a "dark sky" and appears as a gateway to the stars.

This black triangle of Quercy is a privileged place for astronomical observation due to the absence of lights from agglomerations and communication routes.

head in the stars
Transhumance - Arrival of the herd in Luzech
Transhumance - Arrival of the herd in Luzech
A.Mooldijk
Spotlight on...

Transhumance Rocamadour - Luzech

Every year, the main transhumance of the Lot is an opportunity to accompany a herd of ewes who have left to clear the Lot valley and to raise awareness among the general public. It is the symbol of the program to reclaim overgrown spaces. For 5 days, this walk takes you along magnificent side roads from Rocamadour to Luzech.

Transhumance Rocamadour – Luzech

The man behind today's heritage

Many are the monuments still present on the Causse de Limogne originally created by man. Holders of a meaning, of an identity, today they represent the richness of our heritage.

The Causses du Quercy count many archaeological and paleontological sites, such as the cave decorated with Pech Merle which is one of the most famous in France. The territory is rich in cliffs, cornices and shelters which show the very ancient human life still present in the region. You can also meet many dolmens, tumulus, Celtic oppida or even Gallo-Roman roads and even an aqueduct in Vers.

From more recent times, you will also be able to observe, along your way, washhouses and more particularly "butterfly washhouses", carved crosses, origin of the spiritual heritage, mills and dry stone constructions. The latter, omnipresent on the territory, have low walls, delimiting plots and huts, called gariottes or caselles which served as shelters for tools, provisions of farmers, for domestic animals or even sometimes for men.

From castles and religious monuments are also part of the richness of our territory, a symbol of the past and of our ancestors, which must be discovered.

A rich rural heritage:

Pilgrims on a path lined with low walls
Pilgrims on a path lined with low walls
Mr Cochet

The dry stone walls

Resulting from the stoning of the fields, the low walls materialize the limits of plots, organized in a network. The density of this mesh punctuated with huts still testifies today to the traditional division of land by inheritance as well as the variety of soils and cultures linked to a complex topography.

Caselle in Flaujac-Poujols on the GR65
Caselle in Flaujac-Poujols on the GR65
Mr Cochet

Casselles and gariotes

These are huts made of dry stones. The gariote is a simple shelter with sometimes a few slabs serving as a seat. The caselles have multiple functions: shelter, shed, pile guard and storeroom, sheepfold, chicken coop, barn or temporary accommodation for servants or agricultural workers.

Super Cayrou in Gréalou
Super Cayrou in Gréalou
A. Crepin

Cayrous

These are heaps of stones with a neat facing. Some cayrous are multiple with the addition of buttresses corresponding to successive stonings. There are various arrangements: gariotes, lodges in their facings; access ramps at the top, niches or recessed stones protruding outside.

Stone balancing or cairn? at the dolmen
Stone balancing or cairn? at the dolmen
C.Asquier

The cairns

Also called montjoie, a cairn is an artificial pile of stones to mark a particular place. In the Lot, there are many of them, especially on the hiking trails and more particularly on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

The butterfly washhouses in Aujols
The butterfly washhouses in Aujols
Lot Tourisme - C. Novello

The washhouses

Lot washhouses flourished between 1800 and 1950, as in the rest of France. In the Lot, these witnesses of the past are still well preserved. Some washhouses in the Lot even have their own specificity with their stone slab in the shape of a "V", and which respond to the sweet name of "Butterfly washhouses".

Well on the GR65 Limogne-Varaire section
Well on the GR65 Limogne-Varaire section
Mr Cochet

The wells

In karstic terrain, access to water is always more or less problematic, water is scarce on the surface so wells allowing access to groundwater located in depth proliferate. On the causse, there are wells called "sompes", vast and circular in shape, they are framed by masonry walls.

Breathtaking sights

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