Tuesday, October 10, 2006

La Roque Saint-Christophe

Well no bikes today, but here is a great place for bikers to visit. The top picture shows the Cafe which does good chips.
It is called ""La Roque Saint-Christophe". It is an imposing cliff face water cut cave overlooking the river Vezere. It was first inhabited around 50,000 years ago. Eventually it bacame a village built into the cave and extending to the ground below. It was finally destroyed around the 16th century. In that time even the Vikings used to raid it and there is a lookout post on the cliff opposite to warn when they were coming.
Originally there was only a narrow wooden platform which gave access to the main cave. This could be raised in times of crisis. Now this modern entrance exists in front of the platform. Notice how the glass has been shaped to fit around the water eroded rock.
The access road today is still small. The main cave is above and to the right of this picture, and the river to the left.
Looking the other way from the last picture, you can see the river on the right of the road.
A later addition. Probably built when the village was extended down below the main cave cut.
Looking up, you can see the main cave at the top of this picture, and a shelter that has been cut, with handtools, into the rock below it. I don't know what the two vertical cuts are for.
Another picture looking up at the main cave, There would have been house fronts built into this and if you look just above the cave in the middle, you can see the bell in a cutout where the church used to be. There were many shops and businesses up there too.
Further down you can see more evidence of the amount of work that has gone into this place over the years. The square holes in the rock face are where beams would be fitted to support floors and roofs,
Wherever you look there are holes and cavities that predate the 16th century. Some of these would have been sleeping platforms and others cupboards. In some places there are flights of steps.
I have visited this place a number of times and everytime I see something new. In the main cave there is a scale model of the place as it would have looked just before its demise.

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