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Posts Tagged ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine’

In the North of France’s Lot department, history and geography combine to mark the transition from the Massif Central to Causse. Here were the landholdings of the Duchy of Aquitaine and the possessions of the Counts of Toulouse.

The diversity in topography provides visible proof: the Correze’s shale foothills of the Massif Central, offers undulating, broken features both wooded and green; the Lot’s wide limestone plateau is accented by dry-stone walls that are centuries old and valleys where sometimes water disappears into a secret subterranean networks.

The evidence of man’s pre-history and evolution through medieval times is everywhere. Neanderthal’s and Cro-Magnon’s co-existed for a time here. These are the lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Henry, Richard the Lionhearted and birthplace to the crusading Knights Templar’s.

Three great families fought for centuries over this territory. The Turenne’s from their Chateau near Brive, controlled Saint Céré, Martel, Collonges and Curemonte. The Cardaillac’s controlled an area from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie to Lacapelle-Marival. The Castelnaus formed the armed guard of their sovereign, the Count of Toulouse, before becoming vassals of the Viscount of Turenne in 1183.

This region rich in castles has its religious roots founded in the middle ages. One of Europe’s principal pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela runs though the very heart of Rocamadour and many of our other beautiful villages:

So why not come for a visit with us? We’ll be happy happy to help you navigate the Dordogne River Valley and surrounds!

Plan to visit in 2013? Please check out the delightful accommodations at: Le Sud. Or email us about affordable homestays at our rural and eclectic French home: Rancho Escargot.

Both are located in the very heart of the Dordogne River Valley!

Bonne Route et à bientôt! Jack
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April 28, 2013 - Posted by Jack Tobin

A 20 MINUTE DRIVE FROM THE DORDOGNE RIVER AT CARENNAC takes you to the nearly vertical village of Rocamadour which has been visited by pilgrims since the 9th century who were traveling to Santiago de Compostela. In 1166 when the perfectly preserved remains of St. Amadour were discovered just in front of its little Chapelle Notre-Dame, Rocamadour became one of the most important centers for religious pilgrimage in all of Europe. It is said, ‘St. Amadour’ was actually Zacchaeus, a tax collector in Jericho at the time of Christ, who was advised by the Virgin Mary to come to this location in France to live out his remaining years as a hermit.

Rocamadour, Zacchaeus and the Chapelle Notre-Dame

Toward the end of the 12 century, Henri Courtmantel, aka: “Young King Henry”, son of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine, plundered Rocamadour and stole its most prized relics including; Rowland’s famous sword, Durandal and a small statue known as the ‘Black Virgin’ . Ultimately, under pressure from King Henry II, he returned these relics to Rocamadour and they can be seen there today.

Henri Courtmantel, crowned King Henry III of England during his father Henry II Plantagenet’s lifetime, died in the nearby village of Martel during the year of 1183 full of remorse for his big heist. His brother, Richard the Lionheart, became next in line to the throne.

Over the centuries thousands have crawled up the 216 stone steps of Rocamadour’s Grand Escalier on their knees to seek forgiveness & cures or even more harshly… as penance for petty crimes committed.

On Right: Steve, Bobbi & Martine seek forgiveness of sins!


Regional  map/ carte- region:

Rocamadour is the second most visited destination in France, outside of Paris, and a ‘must-do’ on any itinerary into the Dordogne River Valley!

à bientôt! Jack
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July 5, 2012 - Posted by Jack Tobin