Wedged between a dense forest and the edge of a cliff 320 feet (97.5 metres) above the River Lot, St Cirq Lapopie is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Like a number of cliff-top villages in the region, the town was built in its unusual position for defensive purposes. Today, the village is still accessed through the huge stone gates in its fortified walls. One of the main reasons why defence was so important to the village was because four different feudal dynasties lived here; the remains of three châteaux can still be seen in the village's centre.
Other highlights here include the idyllic little houses lining the cobbled streets, some made of stone, and some half-timbered, each sporting pretty, terraced gardens. The 15th century Romanesque church is also very popular. Nowadays St Cirq Lapopie is home to numerous artists and artisans; a trend started after the Post-Impressionist Henri Martin discovered the town and promoted it to a number of his friends. Immaculately preserved, the village is a delight to explore.