The village of Autoire is one of the ‘Plus Beaux Villages’ and is located in an area that is popular with British and Dutch holidaymakers, near Lot.
The village has seven castles, a church, a fountain and lots of half-timbered houses. The church is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture (which you mainly see in Quercy). A square tower with a sturdy church door stands next to it.
In the past, Autoire was a popular summer retreat for the wealthy from the nearby Saint Cere. Given the location of the village on the edge of a beautiful valley, this isn’t a surprise. In the 19th century, Autoire ended up in the history books because the French General who won the battle of Malakoff during the Crimean War was born in this village. Apparently, the family still lives in one of the castles.
Next to the church you’ll find a good restaurant with a nice terrace and beautiful view. An excellent place to take a rest after a long walk and to enjoy refreshing drinks. You can also order Malakoff here; a confectionery that is named after the battle. The story goes that the general cook prepared this dish for the first time during the Crimean War.
One of Autoire’s attractions is the high waterfall, south of the village. There are two ways to visit this waterfall. Both are not recommended for people with walking difficulties or small children. The easiest route is the one above the waterfall. Drive out of the village towards the south. After several kilometres you will see an abyss and a parking lot on the left. Please note, the lot is a little hidden behind a high rock. The walking path starts on the opposite side of the road. The second part of the path is very steep and leads to a plateau with beautiful views of the village and the cirque. It is a tough climb, but the view is definitely worth it.
If you have more time, then the walking trail from the village is well worth it. Again, the last part is quite a scramble and is therefore not suitable for people with walking difficulties and young children. Also keep in mind that you can get quite wet due to the falling water, which in warm weather can also be refreshing. From the southern parking lot, take the road along the castle after which you will end up in the woods. You’ll see a brook. Follow this brook until you reach the waterfall. A beautiful walking trail.
There is plenty to see and experience in the areas around Autoire. The pilgrimage town of Rocamadour is a must, although it can be quite busy during the holidays. Saint Cirque-Lapopie is also not very far. Lovers of caves can also enjoy themselves in this region. The most impressive is undoubtedly the Gouffre de Padirac.