La Roque Saint-Christophe : a family visit to du during any kind of weather and all year long !

Peyzac le Moustier
La Roque Saint-Christ ...

Today, I suggest a family visit to the fortress and troglodytic city of La Roque Saint-Christophe. Open all year, it is ideally located for discovering the Vézère Valley. Between Montignac and les Eyzies, there are so many things to see ! Spend half day in Peyzac-le-Moustier, and travel 55,000 years back in time… Discover our ancestors who inhabited these limestone cliffs overlooking the river ! Partially sheltered, it is a pleasant site to visit either during warm weather or when it is raining. Are you ready ? So let’s go !


A limestone cliff inhabited for 55,000 years

You cannot possibly miss La Roque Saint-Christophe, either coming by canoë on the Vézère River from Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, or by or bike from Montignac or Les Eyzies ; this imposing and abrupt crevice in the rock is raised like a timeless watchtower on the Valley. Dotted by vegetation at the top, the cliff face attracts the curious, we can see people up there : the view must be incredible !

The Vallée de l'Homme is an ideal place for a family holiday. For camping near the Vézère Valley, La Nouvelle Croze is one of the smallest open-air hotels in the region: intimate and friendly, perfectly located.


La Roque Saint-Christophe

The view from the cliff next to Pont du Moustier


You can access the entrance of the site from the small road located near Pont du Moustier. A large shady car park is waiting for you. After getting parked, walk for approximately one hundred metres to reach the entrance of the site. The reception desk is located in the lower part : the main terrace that can be seen from the road is 40 metres high and measures 400 metres. Once you’ve got your ticket at the entrance, start the tour of the site with the guard on duty. Some educational boards aid the visit, as well as a map. To interest the youngest, download the selfguide and game booklet specially conceived for children! Allow approximately 1h30 for the visit between reading time and amazement to really enjoy La Roque Saint-Christophe.


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la roque saint christophe entrée

The entrance of the site, above the car park


La Roque Saint-Christophe can be visited all year long ; the site is really beautiful in all seasons, since the landscape gets a different look each season. During the academic holidays and the weekends from the beginning of the good weather, guided visits in French are organised. I totally recommend them : they last 1h15-1h30 and bring a friendly and living aspect on this unusual tourist site. We are just about to start a guided visit, are you coming too ?


La roque saint Christophe

Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors

la roque saint christophe

Climbing the thirty steps up to the beginning of the Grande Terrasse

Evolution of the troglodytic habitat through time

La Roque Saint-Christophe is composed of various parts, one part is a climb of approximately thirty steps per landing and punctuated by 6 educational boards, followed then by the Grande Terrasse which is the largest aerial under rock shelter in Europe. 400 metres, is just one part of the crevice, the one that can be visited but there are also other similar places, making more than 1km of ancient habitats !

We go through a man made tunnel for the visit and there, it is just stunning ! The Grande Terrasse overlooks the Vézère Valley and the 180 degrees view is amazing ! La Roque Saint-Christophe is north exposed and covered : when it is very hot in temperatures it is a haven of freshness and when it is raining, you are protected. At the « Point 7 » the guided visit starts. You walk along with your guide who explains the evolution of the habitat on the cliff through the ages, the ingenious watch system put in place in the whole valley during the Middle Ages to inform of the attackers arrival. Fascinating…


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la roque saint christophe

A converted tunnel to reach the Grande Terrasse

Vue sur la Vézère roque saint christophe

The view of the Vézère River

la roque saint christopheTurn back on yourself to see the Grande Terrasse as a whole

Visite guidées roque saint christophe

Fascinating guided visits


Children do love the demonstrations of the hoisting machines. They are identical copies showing the process of raising livestock and construction materials. You needed to be well organised to live at 40 metres high with all the necessary preparations in case of attack... Treadwheel crane, medieval crane, the capstan… this is fun !


roque saint christophe

Hiding in the cupboards dug in the rock

Treuil à tambours Treadwheel crane

Grue à balancier

Medieval crane

la roque saint christophe

Another hoisting machine

la roque saint christophe

Safe visit protected by barriers, but was it the case in the Middle Ages ?

roque saint christophe

Some models for a better understanding

 

A 3D movie shows how the cliff looked like across ten of thousands of years of inhabitation. During the Middle Ages, it is was a real town with hundreds of people : peasants, artisans, noble and church people… Carry on up to the end of the terrace to see the point of view and a beautiful perspective on the cliff.

In the second part (after the Grande Terrasse), discover several reconstituted habitats, with wood and daub, kitchen settings, bedrooms etc. The visit is a loop circuit you will then go down some steps to reach the entrance with the guard on duty. Enjoy the view from the last small wooden terrace ; we can see the rock with the Vézère in the distance.


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Escalier terrasse supérieure

Only one part of the site, which is very large, can be visited but it carries on further on for hundreds of metres

la roque saint christophe

The recreated habitats, hi there !


Finally, the last part, which is very much appreciated by the children and geology enthusiasts : the boutique. It is well provided with regional products, toys, cooking and history books, a beautiful collection of minerals, knights and other figurines, soft toys as well as original and attractive jewels (who did guess that I chose a necklace).


boutique roque saint christophe

The boutique de la Roque Saint-Christophe

boutique roque saint christophe

Necklaces, books for children and adults, figurines…

boutique roque saint christophe

Minerals, soft toys, toys…

Further information

  • La Roque Saint-Christophe is open all year, every day, but the opening times vary depending the seasons. All the necessary information to prepare your visit are available on their website.

  • Note : at the bottom of the site, there is a cafe with quality regional dishes, small menus for all, ice-creams and drinks at any time of the day, during summer.

  • Note that when you visit La Roque Saint-Christophe, you make a choice of responsible tourism, since the site is labelled NF Environnement Sites de visite, a prestigious and demanding label, awarded to the companies respecting many criteria such as recycling, resource economy and environment protection.

  • Check La Roque Saint-Christophe on the Guide du Périgord

 

Did you like our article? Find many more in our blog section « Do it your way ».

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egl:ise roque saint christophe

The reconstitution of the inside of a church

The inside of the recreated habitats

Snack Roque saint Christophe

Quality food at the snack-bar


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