Lot (46310) Population: 281 Altitude: 347 m
The little village of Frayssinet is tucked into the green hills and farming country north of Cahors. There are no tourist sites or attractions here to draw visitors, and we found it only through a last-minute, mid-season search for available gites.
This area of the Lot department is full of tiny villages, and Frayssinet is a step above most by having its small bit of commerce: the local "au p'tit marché" shop offers groceries, a café and a simple restaurant, including outdoor terrace.
Although there's nothing striking enough to attract visitors, Frayssinet is pretty enough to please those of you who do stop. The village center is just off the N20 highway (being renamed the D820) north from Cahors towards Souillac and Brive-la-Gallarde. This lower-village "center" has the mairie (town hall), the café-groceries, an active communal center and some old village houses.
The lower village houses are old, stone buildings, in good repair, with some picturesque elements here and there. There's an ancient weighbridge just across from the café, and an old hotel with a picturesque faded old advertising facade.
It's a lived-in village, with full-time local residents and a fair number of Anglophone residents - some full-time and some planning for their future. Round about it's all farming land, with hay fields, corn fields, grazing cattle and some sheep.
An "upper village" is stretched along the hillside immediately above the village center. The old stone church with its slate roof and collection of pigeons sits on the upper part, and a lateral village street winds across the hillside, connecting the stone houses from one end to the other.
It's isolated and very calm and quiet in Frayssinet, but nicely located for visiting many of the tourist sites in the Lot (46) department. It's only a half-hour's drive north to Gourdon or Rocamadour, or a half-hour south to Cahors. It's 45 minutes north to La Roque-Gageac or Sarlat-la-Canéda.
Being mid-August for our visit, the tourist towns were crowded, the driving times were longer, and we spent our days visiting the tiny, out-of-the-way villages and hiking the local petite randonnée trails.
A couple of round pigeonnier towers stand in the fields at the southern edge of the village. There are some small but ancient pigeonniers in the village, and outlying farmhouses include the attached pigeonnier-tower.
The local church dates to the 11th century. Enlarged several times over the centurys, the northern extension was built in the 19th century.
History of Frayssinet
Gallo-Roman: There was Gallo-Roman habitation in what is now Frayssinet.
Medieval: In the 13th century Frayssinet was ruled by the Gourdons, who ceded their rights to Jacques de Jean, a bourgeois from Cahors. It was later sold to the Glandières, with the lourdship shared with the Rampoux and the La Salles.
• GPS: 44.661801, 1.484895
IGN (1/25,000) #2137 O "Labastide-Murat"
There's a well-marked petite randonnée (PR) hike in the village. In the town of Gourdon (Lot) we got a collection of PR hiking guides for several nearby villages, but it didn't include this hike in Frayssinet, and we ran out of time before we could try it.
The other similar PR hikes we took were very well marked, 2-3 hours long, and followed mostly shady trails and country lanes. We expect the Frayssinet PR hike is the same.
We did do a couple of early-morning around-the-block hikes, following the local roads in loops out of Frayssinet, past nearby hamlets and villages and back again. Local country roads go north past Pont de Rhodes and Le Moulin de Boulezat, now a private home but with the mill stream still flowing beneath the main house. One road passes southeast back past Mindigot and Cassagnoles to the village of Beaumat.
Another southeast loop from Frayssinet, out past the cemetery, goes via Le Plégat, Beaumat, la Croix-Blanche and returns along the mostly deserted D22.