The most beautiful villages in the Lot ValleyC. Novello Gallery
Over the millennia, men have built and nature has sculpted extraordinary landscapes, always superbly preserved, which makes the Lot and its valley a preserved and peaceful place, full of wonders, testimony to a rich and living history in discover and visit.
Here, from upstream to downstream, is a selection of pretty villages where it is good to stop, stroll and enjoy!
La Toulzanie is a hamlet in the village of Saint-Martin Labouval: it is located on the road leading from Cajarc to Saint-Cirq Lapopie. His particuliarity ? Troglodyte houses with a side in the cliff! As for Cabrerets, you cannot visit them, but admire them from the outside. The prettiest view? The one we have from the river. To do this, you must either rent a boat for the day in Bouziès, for example, or rent a canoe or a pedal boat at the Cénevières nautical base.
Discover this village camped on its rocky outcrop above the river: panorama, medieval history, artists, gastronomy... everything is gathered here. At its feet, a towpath punctuated by locks, a water mill and dug into the cliff on a portion. A nice flat walk in the cool summer. Don't feel like walking? You can do the same thing on an old-fashioned barge.
Nestled in the hollow of the cliffs in the Célé valley about ten km from Saint-Cirq Lapopie, the village of Cabrerets is worth the detour. At its feet flows a river, ideal for outdoor recreation such as canoeing, swimming or fishing for example! Remarkable cliffs surround you and also offer you a breathtaking view from the viewpoint (follow the yellow markings from the village).
Going down, there are also semi-troglodyte houses (a section is built in the rock): they are all private, but you can admire them from the outside.
Cabrerets is best known for its famous cave: Pech Merle, a must with its authentic 29000-year-old cave paintings and especially among the last real caves to visit in France!
The pretty village of Vers (Saint-Géry-Vers) is at the confluence of the Vers stream and the Lot river. Surrounded by pretty cliffs, you can discover the Château des Anglais on looking up (just like in Cabrerets or Bouziès) and the chapel of Velles as you leave in the direction of Cahors. There was also a Roman aqueduct carved into the rock which allowed drinking water to be carried to Cahors. The village is also at the crossroads of St Jacques, between the GR46 coming from Rocamadour and the GR36 from Bouziès-St Cirq Lapopie.
Aujols is a village renowned for its small heritage. We discover a place with a typical washhouse of Quercy, butterfly so named because of its practical shape for washerwomen. The washing stones are arranged in a V shape and are typical of the Causse de Limogne. You can also find others, notably in Limogne-en-Quercy, Varaire, Escamps, Saillac and other villages. From Aujols, it is possible to hike: from wells to washhouses to discover the vernacular heritage, cross truffle fields, cazelles and of course, wells and washhouses...
Stretched on a rocky promontory, Castelnau-Montratier raises the unusual dome of its church towards the sky, which can be spotted from afar.
Human occupation here dates back to the Gallo-Roman era, vestiges attest to this. Around the 10th century, a first castrum was built on the mound of Maurélis, 1,5 km from the village.
In the middle of the 11th century, a "new castle" named Castelnau-de-Vaux was built on the pech overlooking the Lupte valley. During the Albigensian war, Simon de Montfort would have had the castle razed in 1214. In 1250, the Lord of Ratier rebuilt the town and gave it his name. Built on the pattern of the bastides, new towns of the Middle Ages, it is organized around a large central square with covered areas and arcades (today Place Gambetta), an off-centre church, straight and parallel streets.
Over time, neighborhoods, or barris, developed on either side of the right street (today rue Clémenceau). A second rampart surrounds the village, except to the south, and one could enter it through five gates.
This pretty Quercy Blanc village deserves your attention for many reasons. First of all thanks to Nino Ferrer, emblematic singer of the 60s. The village is inspiring, since many artists and craftsmen have settled there.
Montcuq can be visited by following the marked route which leads step by step through the medieval streets. Twinned windows, facades with arcades and timber framing, doors and remarkable lintels are all details that tell here and there the turbulent history of the village and give it an undeniable charm.
The Saint-Hilaire church, built at the end of the XNUMXth century and remodeled in the XNUMXth century, houses a set of brightly colored stained glass windows retracing the lives of Christ and Saint-Hilaire.
Luzech is a peninsula which forms one of the most spectacular sites in the Lot Valley.
The rocky outcrop which forms its backbone, dominated by the Impernal and Pistoule hills, is cut by the narrow isthmus shaped by the river.
The lowlands are rounded in the loop of the meander, facing the steep Cévennes of Teulettes. On the site of an old canal, which had been dug to avoid going all the way around the meander, we find the central square of the village.
Located north of Luzech, the rocky promontory of Impernal dominates the Lot Valley. Numerous excavation campaigns have taken place since the discovery of the site in 1872 by E. Castagne. They revealed three areas of built structures.
Albas, a picturesque village, enjoys a privileged location in contact with the vineyards and the river. This episcopal village is a stronghold built on the rock, pierced with caves and steeply over the river. Strategic point to watch the Lot, from the 11th century, the old castle, erected at the top of the cliff, manifested the power of the Lord Bishop of Cahors. Albas, peaceful village, where a real art of living is present, cradle of the wine of Cahors, well deserves its name " Albas The beautiful ". Albas it is also and above all a superb view of the Lot river and its vineyards.
Located on a steep Cévennes, this former castrum of the bishops of Cahors offers one of the most remarkable panoramas over the vineyards of Cahors and the island of Floiras (ENS). At the end of the village, the medieval fort offers a pleasant walk through its heritage: tower house of knights, remains of the episcopal castle and the castle of the co-lords, portal of the Sainte-Catherine church, in particular. At the entrance to the village, the imposing Great Church, partly included in the wall, retains a Baroque altarpiece brought back from Spain by Marshal Bessières during a Napoleonic campaign.
Taking its name from a wealthy landowner from the Gallo-Roman era, "Priscius", the village of Prayssac was created in the 8th century around its church. The Neolithic civilizations have left marks of their passage. Thus, the dolmens of “la Bertrandoune”, “tres Peyres”, and “three stones” are the last vestiges of the burial places of men five millennia ago.
Prayssac also saw the birth of Marshal Bessière, Duke of Istrie, at the end of the 18th century.
Built on a rocky outcrop, the medieval city can be explored both on foot thanks to the signposted route, and from the river aboard the barge. Its medieval houses in ocher stone rub shoulders with more recent developments, such as the hanging gardens. On leaving the city, let yourself be surprised by the know-how of the Virebent porcelain factory, a living heritage company.
In Antiquity, Diolindum was an important Roman military station, located on the strategic route from Lyon to Bordeaux. Became Duravel in the Middle Ages, it housed a Cluniac priory: the Saint-Hilarion church, considered a major building of Romanesque art in Quercy. It retains a wide variety of sculpted Romanesque capitals, as well as an 11th century crypt. The medieval town retains part of the medieval walls (14th – 15th centuries) over 160m long.
By taking the road to Santiago de Compostela via the Rocamadour route, the walker will arrive at Montcabrier. This fortified royal bastide, founded in 1298 by Philippe le Bel, retains its orthogonal layout organized around a square square, lined with houses from the 14th to 16th centuries. Below the village, the cliffs offer a climbing site appreciated by amateurs and beginners alike.