Carennac is a small commune of the arrondissement (borough) of Gourdon, and of the département (county) of Lot, in South-West France, a neighbour to Dordogne, with which it shares many common features and heritage, most notably medieval castles and gastronomy. Carennac belongs to the historical region of Quercy, a land imbued with history, and, on a broader scale, to Occitania.

Call to fame

A village of 400 inhabitants (the population swells during the Summer weeks due to the influx of foreign tourists), it lies in the fertile valley of the Dordogne River, nestled under the barren, parched plateau locally named 'le Causse'. Its most remarkable landmarks are a medieval priory, combining an 11th century church and cloister, and a 16th century castle, in which famous author of The Adventures of Telemachus, François Fénelon, lived from 1681 to 1685. The church features a remarkable tympanum, and the cloister a 15th century "mise au tombeau".


Carennac is one of the most beautiful villages of France (along with 148 others, including neighbouring Loubressac, Autoire, Curemonte and Turenne). The surroundings of the village are of equal picturesque charm: the Dordogne's quick waters attract canoe enthusiasts in droves, the valley's corn fields, walnut groves and ancient villages make for a perfect setting for outdoor activities, such as camping, riding and trekking. The Causse plateau is strewn with chasms and caves. The summer months are notably warm and dry, temperatures averaging 30°.

Surroundings and Access

A few kilometres from the village lie the famous Gouffre de Padirac (caves) and Rocamadour (pilgrimage) sites. Other notable landmarks are the Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, the Castle of Montal and the prehistoric caves of Lacave and Presque. Further on, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Cahors and Aurillac are regional hubs. The A20 motorway (linking Paris to Toulouse and Spain) lies 30 km away from Carennac. The closest railway station is 4 km away, in Bétaille.


  • In writing: 'At home in France' by Ann Barry.
  • On film: French TV drama La Rivière Espérance (1997), shot in Carennac and depicting the changes brought about by the introduction of railroad in the 19th century.

External links

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