From the market square by way of the sidewalk cafés on Boulevard Gambetta, Cahors, the capital of the Lot department, aims to be laid back and epicurean. Its combination of a southern French ambiance, historical treasures and culinary delights will win over heritage enthusiasts and connoisseurs of the good life alike. Named a City and Land of Art and History since 2005, Cahors boasts an extraordinary heritage with 18 listed Historic Monuments.
Its historical centre is protected as a Remarkable Heritage Site, and Valentré Bridge and Saint-Etienne Cathedral are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Since April 1990, Lauzerte has been classified as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”, which are chosen for the quality of their heritage, architecture and environment. That label is only rewarded after a rigorous selection process. It is not a permanent title, meaning constant effort is required to maintain this designation.
Montcuq sits atop its hillock in the heart of Quercy Blanc, an area awash with sunshine, where melons, lavender, sunflowers and grapes grow without the slightest effort!
To understand how great life is here, you’ll want to wander along the insanely charming mediaeval streets that work their way downhill from the towering keep, stop by the market on Sunday morning to meet local farmers and take a dip in Saint-Sernin Lake (Blue Flag certified)!
Located in the town of Cabrerets, Pech Merle is one of only a handful of painted caves that are still open to the public. Its treasures have been described by experts as a veritable masterpiece of cave art. It also features a museum which provides additional information about the site’s history and prehistoric life.
Clinging to a cliff that rises 100 metres above the Lot River, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie boasts no fewer than 13 listed Historic Monuments. Designated one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France” and voted the “favourite village of the French” in 2012, it is one of the major sites of the Lot Valley.
Carved into the rock, the Bouziès towpath is an iconic track in the Lot Valley. Over and above the exceptional beauty of the panoramic views of the river and its cliffs, this site also bears witness to the historical importance of the boating industry on the Lot.
The Gouffre de Padirac, located 8 kilometres from Rocamadour, is the no. 1 cave system in France and one of the most fascinating to explore in all of Europe. After a dizzying descent 103 metres below the surface, you will set off on a boat tour along the underground river. Between its labyrinth of caverns, the Lac de la Pluie (“Rain Lake”), its giant stalactite (60 metres in length) and lastly the Salle du Grand Dôme whose “grand dome” rises 94 metres upwards, you are in for 90 minutes of breath-taking scenery.
The mediaeval town of Rocamadour is a miracle of balance overlooking the Alzou Canyon. The first surprise is that this minuscule village has attained worldwide renown. Built in a series of stages 120 metres in height, it grips the cliffside above a canyon through which the Alzou flows. Its houses, roofs and churches seem to be part of the rock itself.
The town is famous for having the highest density of listed Historic Monuments! With its history dating back to the Middle Ages, Sarlat has an amazing heritage that is well worth a snapshot… or 100! This official Town of Art and History was actually the first safeguarded area in France to be restored under the Malraux Law of 1962.
The character of the Lot department comes from the plateaus created by the Lot, Dordogne and Célé Valleys. It is dotted with major sites and beautiful villages like Rocamadour, Cahors, Figeac, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, and the list goes on. Humankind and nature have left their marks on the caves at Pech Merle and the Gouffre de Padirac. On a bicycle ride or hike, the preserved nature and authenticity of the Lot are revealed in full. A land that boasts excellent local products and culinary delights, the Lot Valley will awaken your taste buds with its truffles, foie gras, lamb, Quercy melon and Cahors Malbec wines.
Life here isn’t about extravagance but rather about what is simple and essential:
A space where humans and nature have managed to live in harmony since the dawn of time has become an amazing playground for discoveries and relaxation, with 4,000 kilometres of trails!
The warm welcome provided by the people of the Lot is more than a promise: it’s truly a pleasure for us to see you!