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A day in Cahors

A day visit to Cahors
A day visit to Cahors
T.Verneuil Gallery
Duration 3h
For the whole family

The Valentre Bridge

The Pont Valentré, a must-see during your visit to Cahors
The Pont Valentré, a must-see during your visit to Cahors
J.Morel

Emblematic monument of Cahors, the Valentré bridge was built from 1308 on the initiative of the consuls of the city.

Entirely built in cut stone, it comprises 8 arches and 3 towers, the latter culminating at more than 40 meters above water level.

Completed around 1380, it was always maintained. In 1998, the bridge was registered by UNESCO on the list of the world inheritance under the ways of Santiago de Compostela.

The little devil that you can look for on the central tower recalls the legend of this superb bridge.

Discover the history and secrets of the Valentré bridge

The Water House

Water house in Cahors
Water house in Cahors
V.Seguin

Near the Valentré Bridge, the old Cabazat pumping station, built in the XNUMXth century, has retained its original machinery. It has been converted into an interpretation space on Cahors and its country.
It hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions related to the theme of water.

The Chartreux fountain

Chartreux fountain in Cahors
Chartreux fountain in Cahors
E.Faure

The Chartreux fountain is a limestone resurgence, formerly the place of worship of the goddess Divona, goddess of water of Celtic origin, who gave her name to Cahors (Divona Cadurcorum).

The discovery of many Roman coins in 1989 testify to the cult paid to the source in the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.

Chartreux fountain in Cahors
Chartreux fountain in Cahors
Mr Cochet

In the Middle Ages, a mill used the waters of the fountain, then in 1360 it was ceded to the monastery of the Carthusians, hence its current name.

This spring still supplies Cahors with water.

Focus on... the secret gardens

Next to the Pont Valentré, on the city side, you will find the garden of drunkenness, planted with vines.

It is one of the "Secret Gardens" of Cahors, and the first of visit to the Secret Gardens : from May to October, wander the alleys of Cahors to discover these little oases of greenery scattered around the city.

These gardens are all different, each with their own history, their theme and their plants, more or less large... there is something for everyone!

Remains of the amphitheater

Remains of the Gallo-Roman Amphitheater in Cahors
Remains of the Gallo-Roman Amphitheater in Cahors
J.Morel

The remains of a Gallo-Roman amphitheater from the XNUMXst century are hidden under the Fénelon alleys.
Oval-shaped, 110m long and 90m wide, part of it is visible to the public on the 1st floor of the Amphitheater car park.
They were discovered in 2007 during the construction of the car park.

The heritage house

This house located at the corner of rue fondue haute and rue de la halle now houses the heritage house.

This residence is a very good example of the stylistic evolution of Caduran architecture over the centuries.

Its ground floor opens onto the street via 3 vast brick arcades, dating from the 13th century, while the two upper floors are adorned with large sculpted windows characteristic of the end of the 15th century.

Finally, the last level retains mirandes under the 17th century attic.

Focus on... Cahors market hall

In the 19th century, cities were transformed to improve public hygiene and the quality of life. Ambitious urban plans are implemented on the model of Paris redesigned by Baron Hausmann. It is in this context that a new hall is built in Cahors on the plans of the diocesan architect Pinochet. It replaces a previous wooden building from 1762, which itself succeeded the 14th century hall. As a major public building, the hall benefits from an easily accessible central square, at the convergence of the new network of streets.

The rectangular plan building is opened by 4 entrances, framed by a series of arcades. Metal, whose use increased tenfold in the 19th century, was used for the frame. In 2019, the hall is renovated and modernized.

The market hall of Cahors
The market hall of Cahors
E.Castelnau

Medieval streets and houses

Rue du Docteur Bergougnoux or rue du Château du Roi, a little further along the route.

The two-storey house

Like all of the South of France in the Middle Ages, in the cities and towns of the territory, the two-storey house became widespread and the program of the multi-purpose house dominated. That is to say that the same building brings together professional, residential and social representation functions.

Each level corresponds to a function. The amply pierced ground floor opens directly onto the street and can accommodate a craftsman, a merchant, etc. ; it is used for sale, storage (a function that the attic can also hold), production... It is often equipped with a mezzanine which increases the areas that can be converted. Stone or wooden stalls can be set up in the opening of the bay. The ground floor level is occupied by the owners or rented out, sometimes even sold.

The first level, or noble floor, is served by a staircase independently of the ground floor and accommodates the owner's accommodation. This level is largely lit from the street by a series of bays (most frequently twin bays with small columns) whose succession can form a skylight.

The Windows

The most beautiful windows are fitted in the street facade; their quality testifying to the fortune of the owner. The geminated bays of the XNUMXth / XNUMXth centuries, the shape of which comes from a "Romanesque" tradition, were followed in the XNUMXth century by the bays with tracery decorated with worked stone networks. The latter are reserved for the wealthiest, most often those of the aristocracy. From the XNUMXth century, appear large square windows – called cross or mullioned – whose opening is divided into four parts by stone crosspieces.

Rue Nationale, an example of a medieval alley in Cahors
Rue Nationale, an example of a medieval alley in Cahors
Mr Cochet

The medieval street

In the organization of the medieval house, the role of the relationship with the street is decisive. Economic exchanges take place directly with the street (shopkeepers' stalls, for example). The closeness of the link with the street is also due to the mode of access to the floor, which is most often from the public road.

On the scale of the street, the succession of arcades translates the commercial or exchange functions that take place there, testifying to the vitality of the urban centers of Quercy in the Middle Ages.

The ball clock

The monumental ball clock of Cahors
The monumental ball clock of Cahors
E.Hernandez

This monumental ball-bearing clock can be observed for long minutes before understanding its workings.
Designed by Michel Zachariou, it required two years of work and was donated to the city of Cahors in 1997.

In all, 54 pinballs weighing 80 grams each keep the clock ticking.

According to its designer, it can last forever as long as it is maintained.

Focus on... Street art

Inspired by this original creation? You will love exploring Cahors differently! Welcome in the street art universe in the heart of the city medieval which will take you from narrow streets to viewpoints!

The Hotel de Roaldes

Maison Henri IV - Hotel de Roaldès in Cahors
Maison Henri IV - Hotel de Roaldès in Cahors
Mr Cochet

In 1661, this 15th century building was bought by the family of François Roaldès, a famous jurist and professor at the University of Cahors.

The decoration deployed at the level of its openings (doors and windows) is characteristic of the stylistic renewal that appeared in Quercy sculpture in the 15th century: motifs of blooming roses, stripped sticks, flamboyant suns, etc. First used for religious buildings, these decorations then spread to private residences, such as the Hôtel d'Alamand, rue du Portail Alban, or the Hôtel de Roaldès.

We also know this building under the name of "Maison Henri IV" because King Henri IV would have stayed there during the wars of religion.

Saint-Etienne Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Cahors
St. Stephen's Cathedral in Cahors
T.Verneuil

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela, Saint-Étienne Cathedral arouses interest with its domes characteristic of Romanesque art in south-west France, its Sainte Coiffe - Relics of the shroud of Christ - and its cloister.

900 years old, it also serves as a majestic setting for the traditional weekly market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, which brings together local producers of Quercy fruit and vegetables, goat cheese and other delicacies.

As for the nearby 19th century hall, it offers the permanent spectacle of Lotoise gastronomy.

Cloister of Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Cahors
Cloister of Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Cahors
A. Auzanneau
Focus on... the cloister

The cloister of Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Cahors is a true masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic art. It was built between 1493 and 1553 by Bishop Antoine de Luzech. To access it, you have to take a door to the right of the choir when you are in the cathedral.

All around the cloister are organized buildings belonging to the chapter. The Saint-Gausbert chapel, with its paintings executed at the end of the 15th century, has housed the cathedral's treasure since 1972. In its centre, one of the city's 25 Secret Gardens lends itself to discovery.

Sea bream street

Rue Daurade in Cahors
Rue Daurade in Cahors
R. Perua

The Rue Nationale, Rue de la Chantrerie, Rue de la Daurade, Rue du Château-du-Roi and Rue des Soubirous offer a representative sample of medieval houses in Cahors.

The house at 12, rue Daurade is one of the oldest half-timbered houses in the south of France.

The John XXII Tower

Jean XXII Tower in Cahors
Jean XXII Tower in Cahors
Mr Cochet

The Jean XXII Tower is the only vestige of the palace inhabited by Pierre Duèze, the brother of Pope Jean XXII, a native of Cahors.

Jacques Duèze, born in 1244 in Cahors, came from a family of the wealthy bourgeoisie of Cahors. He was elected pope in 1316, under the name of John XXII.

34m high, the tower is pierced by 5 floors of twin windows.

Diana's Arch

The Arc of Diana in Cahors
The Arc of Diana in Cahors
E.Hernandez

The devotion to Divona increases after the foundation of the Roman city. The most impressive vestige in elevation is a large masonry arcade, incorrectly called the “Arc de Diane”: it is in fact an arch located inside the frigidarium, the cold room of the public baths.

The fortified gate

The Saint-Michel gate in the northern wall of Cahors
The Saint-Michel gate in the northern wall of Cahors
E.Hernandez

A well-preserved line of fortifications was built during the Hundred Years War to secure the isthmus of the peninsula. Almost totally preserved over a length of 400 meters, the enclosure, which has been raised several times, is punctuated by the Saint-Michel gate and several square section towers, such as the powder magazine. Beyond the railway line, the wall extends into the plain of Pal by curtain walls flanked by a XNUMXth century brick tower. and a XNUMXth century artillery tower.

The Saint-Jean tower and the Barbican

Barbican, also called Tour des Pendus, in Cahors
Barbican, also called Tour des Pendus, in Cahors
A. Auzanneau

Beyond the district of La Barre, the northern wall begins, to the east, with a large tower open to the gorge, the St-Jean tower, sometimes nicknamed tower of the hanged. Nearby is a XNUMXth century guardhouse, improperly called the Barbican, whose walls are pierced with numerous arquebusiers. This advanced fortification served as an access to the city.
Indeed, during the Hundred Years War against the English, the inhabitants of Cahors had to build a new rampart in the North (the Barbican), in order to protect the many dwellings and the monasteries.

A view of the city...

To the south of the town, Mont Saint-Cyr offers an exceptional view of the town of Cahors and the meander of the Lot. When the sky is clear, you can see the castle of Mercuès in the distance.

On site, picnic tables and benches are available outdoors or under shelter, as well as barbecues and sports equipment.

The site is accessible by car (Direction Lalbenque at the Cahors exit) or on foot by following the GR from the Louis Philippe bridge or the Cabessut bridge.

Panorama of Cahors from the viewpoint of Mont Saint-Cyr
Panorama of Cahors from the viewpoint of Mont Saint-Cyr
E.Faure

Discover Cahors with a tour guide

Discover the most emblematic monuments of the history and heritage of Cahors. From the remains of the amphitheater to the Saint-Étienne cathedral, from the arcades of shops to the Renaissance windows of merchants' houses, immerse yourself according to the comments of the tour guide in the great hours of the history of our city (the Pont Valentré n' is not included in this course).

Let's go!

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