La Petite Perle is a cottage built in the 14th century located in the center of the village of St Cirq Lapopie.
The village is perched on a cliff above the Lot River in one of the most beautiful locations in the Lot Valley.
The entry to the house is through a lovely private garden with a table, chairs, a large umbrella and a barbeque. It is a great place to enjoy meals and a glass or two of the regions finest wine.
It is a two-level cottage with the lower level providing a full, well-equipped kitchen with dining and lounge areas. There is a sofa that makes into a 140 cm bed, a television with access to several French channels, a DVD player and a clothes washer. The second level is a bedroom with one 140 cm bed with a sink in the bedroom and a shower/toilet room and this level is accessed by a heavy duty ship ladder.
There is WIFI that is normally good if you are sitting on the sofa, but it is not as good in other areas of the room.
In the middle ages St Cirq Lapopie was the main town of the four vis countries that made up the Quercy. The Lapopie were one of the four dynasties of the region and the Lapopie fortress was made of several castles and towers overlooking the village.
Below the fortress, the village streets, once closed by forfeited gates, today still has many of the old houses whose stone and half timber fronts date back to the 13th to 16th centuries.
La Petite Perle is one of those houses and has one of the fireplaces from the original castle.
Some of the streets with the arcade shop fronts keep the memory of the crafts that were once the wealth of St Cirq Lapopie.
Today St Cirq Lapopie has become a favorite place for artists. One of the many crafts that once operated in the village is wood turning and with one wood turner remaining in the village.
Across from La Petite Perle is the Duara House. Pierre Daura was one of the most famous artists in the village and his beautiful home is now a residence for budding artists who come to the village for a few months to continue to develop their skills.
The village has several small restaurants with excellent reputations as well as sandwich, coffee and ice cream shops.
Beneath the village cliff there is a water mill, weirs, harbors and locks with lovely tow paths that today are great for biking and hiking.
The village is located approximately 35 kilometers from Cahors, a famous city once walled and in the 15th century was the finance capital of Europe.
It is possible to take a train to Cahors and from there a bus to about one kilometer from the St Cirq Lapopie . However complementary parking is provided for La Petite Perle guests who choose to drive to the village.
Many attraction can be found in the immediate area including old chateaus and the famous Peche Merle caves that date back 25,000 years.
The Cahors region is famous for developing the incredible Malbec grape with amazing wine. Today Malbec grapes are grown in virtually all regions of the globe. Wine vineyards dot the country side in the Quercy and the surrounding regions. Wine tours have become one of the favorite activities for guests.
One of the best activities is to go to the local markets that are held in various villages in the area on different days of the week. Taking time to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the cafe central to the market is also delightful.
Many people have asked us how we found the village and the house. For years we had looked at properties in various areas of France and dreamed of owning one. One day we decided that it was a dream whose time had come.
We studied the eight regions of France from the popular coastline of Brittany to the magnificent chateaus of the Loire Valley to the Cote d’Azur rocky coast. We didn’t pick any of them, but instead decided on Southwest France and the Midi-Pyrenees. The white limestone cliffs, the fabulous Lot River, the wine, the food and most of all the culture sold us on the region.
In the National Geographic Traveler on France there was a picture of St. Cirq Lapopie and it said “officially—and justly—designated one of the most beautiful villages in France.”
We decided to go to St Cirq Lapopie first, not stopping anywhere else along the way. One long weekend in November 2002 we flew to Paris and drove 600 kilometers south. We came out of a limestone tunnel and looked across the Lot River and we saw a beautiful medieval village sitting on the cliff. We decided that if we did not like St. Cirq Lapopie that we would explore that village next. We drove about two more kilometers and followed the signs to the original destination and St Cirq Lapopie was indeed the village that we saw perched on the cliff.
We went into the village and bought the only house for sale. Ten years later, and knowing a lot more about all of France we wouldn’t change our decision.
This small medieval village appears truly suspended in time—it rolls the calendar back to the 14th Century.
In 2012 the village was given the title of the Most Preferred Village in all of France.
Our small house is in the very center of the village and as you can see from the pictures is surrounded by beauty. The church bells toll in the morning to wake you up, at noon to announce lunch and at seven to invite you to evening and to one of the several fine restaurants in the village.