Saint-Martin-de-Vers is a 1½ hour drive (90 miles)
north of Toulouse, 100 miles east of Bordeaux and about 17 miles northeast of Cahors in the Lot department. Located
on the Vers River (really more of a creek), the village was founded around 1000
AD. The entire village, centered around a fortified Romanesque church that was rebuilt after the Hundred Years' War,
could fit on a football field.
(Incidentally, unlike in "proper" French, the final s
in Vers is pronounced - vairss. Like many place names in the region, it's
derived from the old Occitan language, which still is spoken some in the area.
Similarly, the t in Lot is pronounced; the word comes out sounding like
something between lutt and loht.)
Our house is in the southwest corner of the village. Officially,
the population is listed at 108, but that seems optimistic. There are no
services in the village. The
nearest bread store is about two miles away (uphill!) at Lauzès. Labastide-Murat, a larger town with basic services,
supermarket and a nice restaurant is about a 10-minute drive. Cahors, about a
half hour away, is a fair-sized city with more and larger stores, hospital,
railroad station, library, etc.
There are a great many
hiking paths in the area, taking you to other tiny old villages, prehistoric dolmens,
the ruins of a Gallo-Roman encampment and the remains of a Roman aqueduct that used
to supply the baths in Cahors.
A little further afield (half hour to one hour drive) are the
popular tourist sites of Rocamadour, St-Circ-Lapopie, Pech Merle cave (one of
the best visitable prehistoric caves in France) and the Cahors vineyards, noted
for their intense red wine ("the Black Wine of Cahors").
Below are maps, as well as some pictures of the village and