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From causse to valley, a variety of landscapes within the Park

Starting from Labastide-Murat, Cabrerets or Figeac, the Park suggests an itinerary which will lead you up on to the Causse and into the Vers, Sagne and Célé valleys, through a fabulous range of scenery.

A landscape of causses and valleys

The Park is composed mainly of limestone plateaux (causses) bordered by deep valleys lined with tall cliffs. Over the millennia, the surface of the Causses du Quercy has been eroded by incessant action of water, giving rise to dolines, dry coombs and a multitude of caves and chasms. Between swallowholes and resurgent streams, water, invisible as it is flowing underground, abandons the arid causse only reappearing in the depths of the valleys.

On the causse, between Espédaillac and Labastide-Murat

Within the Park lies the mythical Braunhie forest, a land of legends. All around, the countryside opens up and displays various patterns : dry pastures and oak woods, alignments of dry stone walls, St. Namphaise lakes, villages with a rich heritage, whether religious or beautiful rural architecture, or fortified houses.

The Vers valley as far as St Martin de Vers

The verdant little valley of the Vers, dotted with mills, brings life to the edge of the limestone plateau, where a Celtic oppidum, the oppidum of Murcens, stands above vestiges of a Gallo-Roman aqueduct.

 In the middle of the valley stands the sturdy silhouette of the bell-tower of Saint Martin de Vers church, which overlooks like a keep the lovely village houses with their ochre-coloured stones.

The Sagne stream, from Sabadel-Lauzès to Cabrerets

The Sagne, fed mainly by rainwater, sometimes overflows during storms or very heavy rains, thus maintaining the water meadows along its banks. It is designated a "Natural area of ecological, faunistic and floristic interest" (ZNIEFF) for its wealth of flora and fauna. Numerous rare plants can be found here, including green-flowered millet, invertebrates such as the Southern damselfly, plus beetles and amphibians like the fire salamander.

Going back up the Célé valley towards Figeac

The Célé river has carved out mighty cliffs harbouring prehistoric rock shelters, "Châteaux des Anglais" (fortified caves) and semi-troglodytic dwellings. This superb valley, where mankind has been established for at least 25 000 years, now sees many Santiago pilgrims, people on canoe trips and anglers. Along the way, take the time to visit the villages and to explore their wealth of architectural heritage, such as the former abbey of Marcilhac sur Célé or the priory of Espagnac Sainte Eulalie.


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