La Roque Gageac (Occitan Gajac Rock) is a French town in the Aquitaine region in the Dordogne department. Located at the foot of a cliff, on the banks of the Dordogne River, enjoys a climate similar to the Mediterranean. It is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its inhabitants are called Laroquois. They are affectionate and its cuisine enjoys very good reputation.
It is as old as mysterious. It has been occupied by humans since prehistoric times. From the Gallo-Roman period, are the remains of an old road and the site of a villa and a Roman well in perfect condition. In 849 Normans arrived in Périgord. Age of invasions, pillaging and looting. Vikings travel the Dordogne in their boats called drakkars. There are still old forts built on the cliff by the villagers to protect the latter and enclosures fortified houses which made La Roque Gageac a fortress. This fortified settlement actually resisted hostilities between French and English. Only the doors gave access to the town. Come, enemies, let's grind.
Since the Middle Ages, La Roque-Gageac was a region of fishermen and port workers, governed by the abbot who became later Bishop of Sarlat. It was so little that only had a simple chapel. Suddenly it became secondary residence of the Bishop of Sarlat (my God, thank to put this idea on the Bishop's head) ensuring their own safety. This made nobles and burghers came to settle in the episcopal city, attracting the rich, lawyers, scholars and sages. Prosperity began. The Hundred Years' War broke this peace but in the Renaissance returned. At that time, the city was embellished with battlements at the top of the towers and walls, sharp roofs and period style windows.
In the small town was born Jean Tarde, back in 1561. He was a prestigious astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, archaeologist, historian, theologian and Vicar General of the Bishop of Sarlat. His articles were published in 1887. He supported the ideas of Galileo that planets revolve about themselves and about the sun. At the wrong time. Sometimes it is better to stay silent. One is more beautiful. He was tried and forced to recant by the tribunal of the Inquisition. Is that if not, they burn him alive. He died in 1636, at least a natural death, and his final marked the decline of La Roque-Gageac.
The town declined. Bishop's castle and houses of the nobles began to deteriorate and many were abandoned. The village was sold by the Bishop to the family Salignac to which belonged Fenelon. In 1669 the law on the rights of fishing gave the river to King Louis XIV (an absolutist king believing himself the sun, who loved warfare, dance, build large buildings like Versailles, to prey on the people, and was so absolute that he said the state was he) stating that all boats and merchant ships had to pay according to the goods carried, all to the detriment of the fishermen. Are leeches these kings. After French Revolution La Roque-Gageac became an important port. It was a place for exchange of goods, but, nevertheless, still a fishing village.
How to go? Easy. Take a train from Paris (Gare Paris Montparnasse, 17, Boulevard de Vaugirard, Paris 15, Metro Lines 4, 6, 12 and 13) to Sarlat (Gare de Sarlat) changing in Libourne or Bordeaux Saint-Jean. Here the timetable. Being in Sarlat you have to book a taxi. Speaking some French is a good ally but they will make the best effort to help you. Here some options to book online or by phone: Les taxis à La Roque-Gageac (24250), Taxi Faugère Eric, Yellow Pages and Taxi Proxi. Trip is 9 km, 21 min, from Sarlat. Well, we are already here. It's really a beautiful town.
About accomodation you should have booked in advance. It's very important and never I will be tired to insist on this. Book in advance. Hotels and places to stay are very requested. Here at Hotels.com you will find many options in La Roque Gageac. Select what you like and do not hesitate to book. If something goes wrong you will have plenty of time to cancel your reservation without paying a cent. You can also have a look to Trip Advisor that always has very good recommendations. Here you have: Hotels , B&B, Vacation Rentals and a Travel Guide. It's a must to visit the Tourist Office. They always will have the most trusted and updated info about La Roque Gageac.
After touring the village on foot take a barge ride. You will feel immensely happy forgetting pains of every day. Then go to the market, take a glass of wine and eat something to complete this first activity of this delicious visit to La Roque Gageac.
But, want to forget about engines? So try to relax by a quiet canoe ride. An experience where tranquility and contact with nature will make you feel in paradise. Even alone, why not?
Very close to the village (3km, 6 min) there is a beautiful hanging garden called Les Jardins de Marqueyssac. A place to rest your eyes watching the exceptional care by which this garden is maintained. Open daily all year. A must see.
Le Chateau de la Malartrie is a site that dates back to the twelfth century . At that time it was a hospital for lepers, but it has undergone many changes since then. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Comte de Saint-Aulaire, Ambassador of France in England and member of the Franco-American Society of Cincinnati, an institution whose purpose is to perpetuate the fraternitée Franco-American, born as a result of the independence of the United States, transformed the château in the renaissance style it wears today. This information was took from the Château de la Malartrie site. But, it's not for visit. You can admire it from the barge (see above). If you have enough money you can rent for a week for the modest sum of 4000 euros and feel like a nineteenth-century French nobleman. Information on the site. In French, of course, think that a nineteenth century noble rather talk to you in French. And for the leprosy bacteria do not worry. All died hundreds of years ago. I'm joking. There is also a site in english here.
By Christian Caffin
Are you in good, or better, excellent health? Then visit Troglodyte Caves set in the cliffs. Having been a nineteenth-century nobleman why not be also a troglodyte from thousands of year ago. A Cro-Magnon man. Come on, undress those clothes of the XXI century, wear the required attire to look like a caveman and let's go back in time to visit our ancient ancestors. With a bonus. The view is amazing. Well, the house is alone, all grand died, but this visit will bring good memories. Remember when Joseph fell in love with Lucy and gave her a blow on the head to express his beautiful feelings?
Above we were talking about Jean Tarde that saved of being burned because they retract their support for the ideas of Galileo. Well, he lived in what is known as Manoir de Tarde, a beautiful residence that we can admire in La Roque Gageac.
Finally visit the church. It carries the shield with Flower of Lys (XVI century), the emblem of the French kings. Formerly the parish church was in Saint-Donat at 1 km from the village. The present church was the chapel of an old hospital called Notre Dame de La Roque Gageac. It was built in 1330 and became official church in 1365. The roof is covered with slate, typical material of the region. Next to the church is an exotic garden created by Gerard Dorin. It has a lush Mediterranean vegetation: palm trees, bougainvillier, passion flowers, banana, orange, grenada, lemon, olive oil, bay leaf, cactus, etc. Maybe you will find him on the street. He lives there, near his magnificent work.
That's all folks. But have before a complete list of the best restaurants in La Roque Gageac according to Trip Advisor. Enjoy your meal. Au revoir!
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