This photo was taken in Autoire, Quercy, Lot, France.
This is a beautifully preserved ancient Quercy village of character, with an 800 year history, seemingly undisturbed by the modern world. Autoire has nestled its square pigeon lofts, its brown tiled roofs and its country and small manor houses in the hollow of a cirque on the limestone plateau between Figeac and Gramat. In this arid land, only the Autoire, a fast-flowing stream that lends its name to the village, brings freshness from its waterfalls.
Autoire is classified amongst "the most beautiful villages in France" ("Les Plus Beaux Villages de France"), a label attributed by a french association to villages presenting several interests and meeting certain criteria (rural size ie less than 2,000 inhabitants, at least 2 protected sites or monuments). Today, the association includes 154 villages spread over 21 regions and 69 départements. They aim to avoid certain pitfalls such as villages turning into soulless museums or, on the contrary, "theme parks". Their well-reasoned and passionate ambition is to reconcile villages with the future and to restore life around the fountain or in the square shaded by hundred-year-old lime and plane trees. Please also check at the official website www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/ or the unofficial one www.villagesdefrance.free.fr/. You can also check my Flickr Set.