Rocamadour – A Tricky Start to a Visit – France

Our journey out to Rocamadour was very pleasant as we drove through the beautiful French country side.  Some of the country roads were rather narrow and as the coach climbed further up the cliff and got closer to Rocamadour Gateour destination the path got narrower still.  In certain spots our coach practically brushed past the front of village houses on the cliff-side and you could see the look of disapproval from its elderly occupants.  ‘Merde’, they must be cursing ‘encore des Étrangers envahissant notre village’ . You do empathize with them as large tourist coaches roar past their humble homes every day, disrupting their quiet village life and there’s nothing in it for them except for the noise pollution and petrol fumes.

Rocamadour GateAnyway when we finally arrived at the gate of Rocamadour village, all coaches have to make a three-point manoevre to turn around and then park the coach some 50 meters up.  The road is so narrow and just outside the village gate is the only spot where the coaches could make a tight turnaround. A little too far back and you’re off the cliff, as noted by those in the back of the bus as they screeched in horror.  So between the cliff edge, village gate and cliff wall, our coach driver very carefully managed to turn the coach around and received cheers of approval from the group. 

Jammed in Rocamadour GateThe next tour bus that came along wasn’t so lucky.  Their driver struggled to make the turn and as you can see from the photos, his bus was almost jammed at the village gate.  The parking attendant, and everyone witnessing the event were concerned that he might take down the village gate.  The poor guy really didn’t know how to get out of the jam and you could see the look of panick on his face, not helped by the crowds of onlookers.  Meanwhile, he was also causing quite an obstruction at the gate. 

Our coach driver offered to take over from him and you could see the relief on his face.  With careful little turns, our driver finally extricated the bus from the gate to cheers from everyone.  Phew, that was a tricky situation!  If it were not for the help our driver provided, the medieval gate of Rocamadour village may no longer exist today.


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