S ince my cousin only got one full day off work whilst I was staying with her, we decided to go on a road trip and find somewhere cool to spend the day. After much debating over a bottle of rouge the night before, Carcassonne? Wake-boarding? Rocamadour? Rouffiac? We finally settled on Rocamadour.

So the next morning, slightly fuzzy headed, we set off on the 170km drive. We made it 10 minutes before we had to stop for a croissant and a coffee from a local boulangerie – naturally – then we were back on the road.

2 hours later, and after performing just about every Beyoncé song ever written, we arrived. Driving from the bottom of the valley right through the tiny streets to the top.

I had only heard a very brief description of the town from my cousin – in between Beyoncé numbers – in the car on the way up, so again I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was nothing like I had imagined it. As we came around a bend in the road, Rocamadour came into view. There was this sheer cliff face towering over the valley with these buildings clinging onto it for dear life. The whole thing looked like it could lose its grip at any moment and slip down into the valley below. It all looked a bit chaotic from a distance, like there was no structure to it at all. Just a complex arrangement of walls, roofs and streets. Buildings just seem to be stacked one on top of each other, delicately balanced on the cliff face, like the whole thing had been designed using lego or something.

Some of the buildings just seemed to disappear into the rock, effortlessly integrated with the terrain. It reminded me a bit of a villains lair from an old James Bond film. I could instantly see why my cousin chose to bring me here, it was so impressive to see. I hadn’t been to anywhere like it before. We had another perfect day weather wise again. Hot, blue sky, a few scattered clouds here and there, perfect.

We started the day at the top of the city with a look around the castle. The views from up here were spectacular. We went up onto the castle walls which were just standing right out over the cliff, high above the valley floor. The surrounding terrain was full of rich green hills, broken every now and then by the grey of a cliff, or the black of a road twisting through the trees.

We spent the next few hours slowly walking down from the top of the town all the way down to the bottom. Being built into the side was of a cliff face, there was really only one road in the town, narrow and cobbled in most places, lined on both sides with these beautiful little buildings. We went off exploring some of the churches and chapels, getting ourselves lost in amongst the tiny side streets and alleyways, stopping every so often to take a few photos. Well, I say taking photos, a more accurate statement would be stopping to strike our best catwalk pose whilst one of us (or some poor innocent stranger) snapped away. I thought it best not to post these photos on here, you know, professionalism and all that.

Every now and then we would come across these open spaces, kind of like a balcony overlooking the valley, presenting us with the most amazing views. Ancient buildings on either side of us and an open view of the landscape right in front, it really was a beautiful place.

Whilst wandering around, we came across this beautiful window in the side of a stone wall. The view was amazing, it was overlooking the valley quite close to the top of the city, and the ledge was plenty big enough for us to sit up there, so naturally, we did another photo shoot. Unfortunately I didn’t have my tripod with me so we took it in turns again.

Post processing, I attempted to merge the photos together to make it look like we were both up there at the same time. It’s not the best Photoshop work I’ve ever done, but I’m still pretty pleased with results, plus we had a right laugh doing it so it was worth it.

People kept walking past looking

at us like we were crazy or on drugs

or something.

Mind you, if I walked passed two people, one of which was posing on a windowsill whilst the other pointed a camera at them shouting “Work it”, and “Yes, beautiful, over the shoulder look, now!”, I think I’d take a second look as well.

Photo shoot over, we continued on further down into the heart of the town, stopping to sample a bit of the local goats cheese and having a look around some of the beautiful shops Rocamadour had to offer before we reached the bottom. Okay, not quite the bottom, but low enough that we didn’t have to walk too far back up hill to get the train back to the top. We’re lazy, and we accept that.

After we left Rocamadour we went to La Forêt des Singes which was a nature park for monkeys. I thought it was just going to be walking round looking at monkeys in enclosures. How wrong I was. It’s one massive complex where you lock yourself in with the monkeys who are just roaming around freely. It was like Jurassic Park. Only without the killer dinosaurs. And the death. And the danger. I still sang the theme tune the whole way round, much to the annoyance of my cousin. Anyway, it was a pretty cool place and it was really amazing to see the monkeys up close and I managed to get some great shots of them. The photo where the money has its mouth open, kinda like its going “Oooooo no she didn’t!”, that’s the monkey showing aggression. Probably because my cousin was teasing it with a piece of popcorn, and getting too close. Two of the things we were told not to do…

We stayed in the park for a couple of hours and had a good walk around before starting to make our way back to Toulouse, performing the Beyoncé encore show all the way back. Naturally.

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