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Cahors, the capital of the Quercy area, is tucked inside a bend in the river Lot. A lovely old town with quaint shopping streets an impressive cathedral and fortified Pont Valentre bridge with 3 towers over the river Lot.
Cahors (Lot - Midi Pyrenees) mini guide
Cahors (the 'h' and the 's' are silent, so it is pronounced Ka'or) being the capital of the Lot and situated in the heart of the region is a perfect base for exploring Quercy with its vineyards, medieval villages, castles and the spectacular limestone cliffs that flank the rivers Lot and Cele.
It is famous for its 14th century medieval fortified bridge which spans the Lot. Pont Valentrè has three high towers and six arches and is one of the best examples of this type of bridge in France.
It is an area renowned for its local delicacies such as truffles, goat's cheese, confit de canard (duck conserve) and dark, potent Cahors wine which has been produced here since Roman times. The Saturday and Wednesday markets are the best places to sample some of this wonderful cuisine and also get a feel for the laid-back atmosphere of the town itself. Or perhaps try one of the Michelin starred restaurants in the town.
Cahors is situated on the river Lot and is surrounded by hills. Its famous landmark is the 'Pont Valentre', an impressive medieval bridge that spans the river. Apparently this bridge is one of the most photographed sights in France. The bridge was built between 1308 and completed in 1378. It has 6 main arches, 3 square towers and 2 fortified entrances. The bridge also as a legend behind it and it is often called the Devil’s Bridge. The architect in charge of restoration in the 19th century, Paul Goût, immortalised the legend by having a carving placed on the central tower representing the devil.
There are plenty more heritage areas to visit, for example the Cathedral of St Etienne and the Arc de Dianne. The Henri Martin Museum was the former residence of the Bishop of Cahors and well worth a visit. There are the many vineyards of Cahors and warehouses where you can try their produce. For children, look out for the tourist train for a fun and easy tour of the town. Better still, take the train from Cahors along the valley to St Cirq-Lapopie. The railway winds its way along the sides of the river and offers wonderful views. For an outstanding view overlooking the town and river follow the road up the hill behind Cahors in the direction of Mont St Cyr where there is a public park, the views are outstanding from there.
A Little Cahorian History
The name ‘Cahors’ appears to come from the former town-cum-shrine, that grew up around the sacred Divona spring, now known as the Fontaine des Chartreux. The ‘Arc de Diane’, vestige of the Gallo-Roman baths, and the foundations of the antique theatre (beneath the present-day Chamber of Agriculture) are the only remains which have survived from that era. The period of the great barbarian invasions (5th to 8th century) modified the city considerably.
It was during the episcopacy of St. Didier (636 – 655), considered as the great rebuilder of Cahors, that a strong wall was built confining the city to the eastern side of the isthmus, around the Cathedral where the mediaeval city developed.
The inhabitants are called Cadurciens know as Cahorisinsin in the middle ages. Cahors was an important place in the Middle Ages and saw considerable conflict during the Hundred Year War and the later Wars of Religion. It was also famous at that time for having bankers that charge interest on their loan. Pope John XXII was born in Cahors in 1249, the son of a shoemaker.
Within easy driving distance are world famous prehistoric cave paintings at Pech-Merle to the East and Font de Gaume to the West (near the Perigord town of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac).
East of Cahors is Saint Cirq Lapopie, selected recently as one of France's most beautiful villages. Rocamadour, a famous cliffside pilgrimage site, is less than an hour to the North. North West of Cahors, Perigord provides a selection of mediaeval tourist spots, notably Sarlat. The Aveyron area to the South East is noted for its spectacular gorges and classic hill towns, such as Bruniquel (left). A little further afield is Cordes Sur Ciel, well worth a visit.
|Department:||South West France > Midi Pyrenees > Lot >|
|Location:||Cahors is situated on the river Lot and surrounded by hills and famous for the Pont Valentrè, a fortified medieval bridge.|
|Tourist information website:||http://www.mairie-cahors.fr/|
|Tourist information contact email:||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Tourist information switch board number:||+ 33 (0)5 65 53 20 65|
|Tourist information address:||Cahors Tourist Office, Place François Mitterand, F-46000 Cahors, France|
|Quick links to accommodation:||Accommodation near Cahors (Lot - Midi Pyrenees) - Hotels in Cahors (Lot - Midi Pyrenees)|