A walk near Lavaur with the trois évêques

The meeting point for les trois évêques

YOU are sure to see the steep rock face from the road as you navigate the tight bend, but not many people stop and take a stroll to the fontaine des trois évêques in Lavaur.

This easy, but magical walk takes you past rushing springs, overhanging rock walls and sparkling sunlit woods, all of which can be found near the small hamlet of Lavaur, in the Dordogne, not far from Villefranche-du-Perigord.

The mid-morning sun was trying its best to take the chill off the icy air, but with a faint mist rising off a small stream, and the light playing tricks with your eyes, there was a medieval touch to the day.

Sign post to the walk of teh three bishops
The start of the walk in Lavaur

Les trois évêques meet up

The story of the three bishops. or les trois évêques, meeting at a small water source in Lavaur is the type of tale that would surely inspire any writer of fantasy novels.

In the past the bishops of the old regions of Quercy, l’Agenais and Périgord would meet and share a meal where the boundaries of the three diocese, marked out by small streams, came together at the bottom of a cliff in Lavaur.

And it is beneath the steep cliff face you will first cross the fontaine des trois évêques where the old feudal boundaries, and the powerful, were able to meet without fine or charge.

Restored lavoir holds a small pool

There is also a restored lavoir with its wooden frame and tiled roof as well as a short explanation of the building.

You can experience this mystical place as the current three bishops of Cahors, Agen and Périgueux attend a small event on Easter Monday every year.

Easter event for locals and visitors

They are welcomed by the local dignitaries of Lavaur, as well as local people, then after a few words a drink and a slice of cake will be shared.

Depending on the weather you can expect 50 or so people in attendance.

Continuing past the water-pump house, the path takes you close to the sheer rock faces and although evidence of small streams is still there, the past year has been very dry so the occasional trickle soon heads back underground.

Small stream you can easily cross

Walking along, with only stout shoes required, there was still a chill along the track but as it rose, the air warmed and sunlight glinted through the leaves and twigs of the rustling trees above.

As the path gently rises small patches of open space, with banks of wood behind, point to how the forest may have been worked in the past, and possibly sheep and other animals were kept when the area was intertwined with agriculture.

But today it is another trade that leads the way with yellow capped sign-posts pointing to a new belief in tourism and the euros that might bring.

Another walk you can try when in the area, is the Boucle des Granges in Loubejac, or if you want a little more adventure take a canoe trip along the Dordogne.

If you are looking to visit, find out more about the hotels in Villefranche-du-Périgord.

Categorised as Tourism

By Craig McGinty

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