Clinging to the side of a gorge above the Alzou River, Rocamadour is a centuries-old pilgrimage site in Southwestern France. It centres around an atmospheric complex of monastic buildings and churches, below which lies the town itself. In addition to its revered Black Madonna statue, Rocamadour is renowned for its goat’s milk cheese.
Things to do in Rocamadour
Spend a day wandering through the Cité Réligieuse, which comprises several religious buildings that can be accessed along the Grand Escalier. A highlight is the Chapelle Notre-Dame where a wooden Black Madonna image carved by Saint Amator is housed. Also of note is the Basilica of St-Sauveur, a Romanesque-Gothic landmark decorated with paintings and inscriptions detailing Rocamadour’s most notable pilgrims.
On the eastern edge of Rocamadour is the Monkey Forest where around 150 Barbary macaques roam free. While native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria, Barbary macaques are endangered in the wild and this research centre is conducting an important breeding program. A short trail dotted with information panels winds through the reserve and regular feeding sessions take place.
On the opposite side of Rocamadour is the Rocher des Aigles, an ornithological park on a mission to conserve a variety of bird species. More than 400 birds of prey, as well as owls and parrots call the park “home” and daily shows are held where you can see the acrobatics of their kites and skydiving falcons.
Getting around Rocamadour
Rocamadour is around an hour’s drive from Brive-la-Gaillarde and two hours from Toulouse–Blagnac Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Regular trains connect to the Rocamadour - Padirac railway station, from where taxis are the main means of getting to town. The centre of Rocamadour is ideally explored on foot.