Some 20km further south, and west of the road to Villeneuve, is the village of FOISSAC, which has given its name to a local cave (April, May & Oct daily except Sat 26pm; June & Sept daily 1011.30am & 26pm; July & Aug daily 10am6pm; €6.50); in addition to a variety of weird and wonderful formations, there's an unusual prehistoric potter's workshop dating from about 4000 BC.
To the east of Foissac, about 20km by a beautiful lane across the causse, you happen upon one of the most remarkable old villages in this corner of France, PEYRERUSSE-LE-ROC. The "modern" village sits astride the head of a narrow wooded valley: a tiny huddle of long-eaved, half-timbered houses abutting the ancient walls. In the valley below, hidden in the steep woods, lie the remains of a medieval stronghold, abandoned around 1700, that once stood guard over the silver-rich country round about, and which is only now beginning to be excavated. A cobbled mule path leads to the gate towers and on into the woods, where the stones of a Gothic church, synagogue and hospital stand roofless beneath an unscalable pinnacle of rock crowned by twin towers. A path crosses the stream and climbs along the overgrown bank to an ancient packhorse bridge and ruined mill. From here you can scramble back up the valley side to a bridge of rock where a vertiginous ladder gives access to the towers. For the moment at least, it remains a moving and atmospheric place.
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