As you approach Les Arques from the south, the passing countryside tempts the eye – herds of goats and sheep, odd bits of field hacked out of the difficult terrain and filled with corn, serried ranks of vines, and drooping sunflowers. Generous farmhouses and barns peer out from far off the road, all built of la pierre blanche du Lot, the local limestone, their hand-hewn blocks weathered ocher and bisque under tiled roofs splotched with lichen.
Through the trees on the left, you catch a tantalizing glimpse of the slate-roofed twin turrets of the diminutive ruin of Domaine de Ladoux, then cross a stone bridge through a pasture filled with grazing cows. At last, you begin to climb the hill on which the village is perched like a crown. From below, you see the tower of the twelfth-century Romanesque church at its center, the burnt sienna of the tile roofs, the encircling walls rising up, as if to keep the village from plunging down the steep slope on all sides.
The road skirts the village so that, as you top the rise, the old church and its surrounding houses beckon from the left, while on the right a single imposing structure stands out, an old school-house, and behind it rolling pasture, cornfields, and forest until the eye meets the next ridge at the near horizon.