The medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is set to receive an influx of visitors after the historic settlement was voted “France’s Favorite Village” by a TV show in June.
Originally established in the 13th century, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie has survived several wars and invasions over the years, and attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually.
Many international tourists travel to France to tour the village, which lies on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Lot River in the southwest.
Some fear the town, located about 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of Cahors, may lose the mediaeval character that has made it such an attraction, but local officials and residents say the tourists are more than welcome.
“Our village may look fragile, but it has survived for centuries,” said Virginie Seguin, the head of the local tourist office. “Our challenge is to maintain our authenticity, to welcome tourists while preserving our peaceful atmosphere.”
“We do need to increase the facilities for welcoming (tourists), so that we can respond to them and so welcoming them remains a pleasure,” Seguin said, adding that the town was expanding parking facilities to make things easier.
Residents say they are not bothered by the occasional changes or strict conservation rules. In fact many praise the flow of tourists for keeping people in work and allowing the village to thrive!