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Autoire, Lot

To the east of Dordogne on the edge of Causses du Quercy regional park

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This picturesque little village is typically Quercy. The traditional houses have corbelled fronts, brown-tiled roofs and pigeon lofts built into their walls.

Fortunately tourism has done nothing to damage the tranquillity of Autoire, which is listed as one of 'Les Plus Beaux Villages de France' (The Most Beautiful Villages in France). It's not hard to see how it has earned this title as the narrow road that leads you into the town brings you directly to a pretty town square, complete with a fountain and overflowing flowers. 

Sights & Attractions in Autoire

The dramatic limestone cliffs are home to the Roque d'Autoire, also known as the Chateau des Anglais, an ancient fort set into the cliff above the town. The walk up to the ruins is via a rather steep path, hard work in the blistering heat of a summers day. However, you will be rewarding with some fantastic views across the small valley, out over the plains of the vineyards and fruit trees and of the pretty town below.

Not far from the town of Autoire you will find the Gouffre de Padirac, an underground cavern and river that offers spectacular views of the stalagtites and stalagmites of the Dordogne region.

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Things to Do in Autoire

Apart from enjoying a coffee or meal in this delightful village, you will find yourself keen to explore the small streets and enjoy the architecture of the town. Honey coloured houses with turrets, and fronts covered in ivy, will make you envious of the owners. Another treat is to take a hike along the valley by the river to the waterfalls situated at the foot of the limestone cliffs. This hike through the forest offers a welcome respite from the strong rays of sun and a beautiful site at the end with the water cascading over moss-covered rocks. For a slightly longer and more challenging walk you can complete the 'cirque' or circuit and walk back to town on the far side of the river, taking a detour up to the Roque d'Autoire and the ruins of the Chateau des Anglais.

If you prefer something a little more relaxing then the town is the perfect setting to get out your watercolours and to do a little sketching. You may well find groups of tourists already sitting on stools with sketchbooks in hand, so why not join them.

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Dining in Autoire

There are only two restaurants in the town but both have terraces so that you can enjoy the comings and goings of the town and the views that it offers.

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Hotels in Autoire

The only hotel in the town in the lovely Auberge de la Fontaine situated right in the heart of the village, overlooking the pretty central square and fountain. The building itself dates to the 18th century and offers a tranquil environment for visitors.

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How to get to Autoire

Situated in the north of the Lot department and close to the Upper Dordogne river the town of Autoire is not far from neighbouring town of Saint-Cere and the well-known pilgrimage site of Rocamadour. A horseshoe of limestone cliffs offer a pleasant backdrop and some delightful countryside to explore.

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