(Published May 2013, last updated June 2023)
Located eighteen kilometres (11.3 miles) past Martel on the GR 46—GR 480 path, Turenne is the perfect place to stop after your first day of walking. It’s also the first of six ‘most beautiful villages’ you’ll visit on this long-distance walk which winds 127 kilometres (80 miles) from Martel to Rocamadour.
At the top of the hill, dominating the village, are the remains of the château which was home to the ruling families of the region between the tenth and eighteenth centuries.
The village enjoyed a prosperous and peaceful existence during this time, but in 1738 the château was sold to King Louis XV to clear the enormous gambling debts of then-owner, Godefroy de Bouillon. The château was subsequently dismantled on Louis XV’s orders but thankfully many of the fireplaces and other stoneworks have been preserved in houses and other buildings throughout the village.
All that remains of the château are the Guards Rooms, which now contain a small museum displaying armour and other medieval artefacts.
The gardens adjoining the museum were planted in the 1920s, over what would have been the rooms of the château. At the end of the gardens stands the twelfth-century Tour César. The stairs are narrow and not really built for two-way traffic but a climb to the top will reward you with commanding views over the countryside.
Let’s walk around and see what makes Turenne one of France’s most beautiful villages!
Which long-distance walk in France visits Turenne?
Martel to Rocamadour
Where is Turenne, France? Find it on Google maps
Turenne is 18 kilometres (11.3 miles) from the starting point of Martel.
The village is one of nine of France’s most beautiful villages which you will visit on this walk. The others are Martel, Collonges-la-Rouge, Curemonte, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, Autoire, Loubressac, Carennac and Rocamadour.
If you are following my suggested itinerary for this eight-day walk, you’ll arrive in Turenne at the end of the first day of walking. If you find you arrive too exhausted to visit the château, relax and leave your exploration of the village until the morning. Tomorrow’s walk to Collonges-la-Rouge is less than nine kilometres (5.5 miles) and you’ll have plenty of time look around the village before you leave.
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to plan my itinerary on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study).
Tourist Office in Turenne
There is no official Tourist Office in the village but you’ll find helpful staff at the mairie (council), located on the D150 as you approach from Martel. Opening hours are listed on the mairie website.
Opening hours for the château are listed on the Château de Turenne website.
Accommodation in Turenne
Maison des Chanoines
Le Clos Marnis (five rooms, 12 people)
Where to eat in Turenne
You’ll find several cafés, a bakery (boulangèrie) and supermarket in the village where you can stop for lunch or dinner, buy picnic supplies or stock up on trail mix.
Purchase the 2023 edition of the Martel to Rocamadour (PDF) guidebook