In Cahors, flowers and gardens are a true art of living, another way of discovering and experiencing the city. The creativity of the city's gardeners thus gave birth in 2002 to an unprecedented initiative: the Secret Gardens of Cahors. Rewarded by the awarding of the “Remarkable Garden” label by the Ministry of Culture, the Secret Gardens have thus become true ambassadors of the city.
Come (re)discover, through the Secret Gardens of Cahors, the medieval garden, its herbs and its superstitions. All you have to do is follow, from the Valentré bridge and thanks to this map, the route dotted with acanthus leaves which will take you to the heart of the city.
The Garden of Drunkenness
Alley of Sighs
At the foot of the Valentré bridge (XNUMXth century), an emblematic monument of Cahors, this garden planted with vines echoes Cahors wine and its historic Malbec grape variety. It is the start of the Secret Gardens circuit.
The enclosure of the Cordeliers
Wilson Street, in front of the chapel of the Gambetta college.
The Cordeliers are monks of the order of Saint-François d'Assise who had their convent nearby. In this enclosed garden, flowers and vegetables coexist in perfect harmony in five plessis of dry chestnut.
A plessis is a fence made up of living or dry intertwined branches retaining above-ground plantations. Visible on manuscripts from the end of the Middle Ages, their reduced size must allow
to work them without setting foot on them
The Lastié courtyard
St. Urcisse Square
Symbolizing a raised garden, this plant punctuation celebrates Pierre de Lastié, emissary sent by the consuls in Avignon to Pope John XXII, originally from Cahors.
A covered playground is a raised bench covered with grass.
The biblical garden
Apse of the Saint-Urcisse church
The main plants mentioned in the Old and New Testaments are present in this place: cypress, fig tree, pomegranate tree, olive tree, rosebush...
The Spice Square
Spices aroused covetousness and fantasies in the Middle Ages. This square is organized around the fountain with dogs, made in 1992 by Jean-Luc Bertrand, a stonemason in Cahors.
The Moorish garden
Rue du Petit-Mot
Of Arab inspiration, this island of greenery refers to the occupation of the south of France by the Saracens. It consists of three small flowered patios of luxuriant vegetation with heady perfumes.
The Courtil of the monks
Court of the Archdeaconry
This garden is made up of plaited chestnut plessis, planted with vegetables eaten in the Middle Ages, potherbs*: nettle, orache, arugula, saw palmetto, marigold, fennel, chard. Bear's ear, a non-edible plant with downy leaves, protected the garden from bad luck.
* Potherbes: potted plants used in the preparation of "porée", a sort of thick soup of leaves, onions and bread, cooked for a long time in a cauldron. There are many recipes in the Mesnagier de Paris, precise culinary economy (1394)
The Hortus of the Ladies or the Benedictines
Located in the heart of the Daurade district, this square is dedicated to the Ladies of Cahors, in reference to the former Benedictine convent located on its site. It is enclosed in woven living wicker and shaded by the oldest plane trees in Cahors, nearly 200 years old.
The chapels of Basmes
Inside the hortus (vegetable garden) of the Ladies of Cahors, these metal plessis are dedicated to the eight families of perfumes: citrus fruits, herbs, floral notes, green or fern notes, fruity notes, spicy notes , woody notes, oriental or balsamic notes. The other three squares are dedicated to the Cahors violet, mints and scented geraniums.
The celestial courtyard
Cloister of Saint-Etienne cathedral
The cloister garden refers to the Virgin Mary through the colors used: blue (lavender) and white (lily).
The Garden of the Witch and the Dragon
Rue du Château-du-Roi
This walled garden is made up of plants linked to witchcraft. A black amoeba, symbol of evil, is redrawn on the ground in the form of a star of white gravel.
The courtyard of the Caorsins
At the heart of a medieval island, this Italian-inspired garden refers to the Lombard bankers of the Middle Ages. Trained by the latter, the Caorsins were wealthy Quercy moneylenders from the XNUMXth - XNUMXth centuries, whose activity had international influence. Around the old fountain rise wisteria and cypresses, complete with a plant wall composed of periwinkles, ivy, tracheliums and geraniums.
The garden of Saint-Jacques
Saint-Barthélémy church, lower part
Cahors is located on the Via Podiensis, one of the main pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela linking Le-Puy-en-Velay to Roncesvalles. This garden evokes the arid landscapes crossed by pilgrims.
The Pilgrims' Garden
Saint-Barthélémy church, upper part
This meditative garden, with the sweet scents of sage, mint, verbena and violet, gladly welcomes passing pilgrims.
The closelet of the Crusades
This military-inspired garden is set up at the foot of the Barbican and the so-called Hanged Tower. The plants are those brought back from the Crusades: Damask rose, myrtle, agapanthus, peach.
At the entrance to the Closelet of the Crusades is a strange tree!
The Araucaria araucana, is also known by the evocative name of "Despair of the monkeys", because of its difficult access to primates.
It is a conifer native to the Peruvian and Chilean Andes, very hardy, which can reach 25m in height.
The small enclosure of the Poor Clares
Rue du Pape-Jean-XXII
Located not far from the former convent of the Poor Clares, this contemporary garden of medieval inspiration, enclosed by gabions of pebbles, presents flowers in orange tones, in reference to the cultivation of saffron practiced by these nuns.
The ferryman's garden
This garden, passage from the upper town to the lower town, is the largest of the Secret Gardens. Opened to the public in 2006, the objective was to create, on this difficult terrain, a contemporary park integrating into a medieval environment, strongly marked by the presence of the Saint-Barthélémy church and the palace of Pope John XXII. Treated in four successive terraces, this park allows walkers to pass (hence its name) from the upper town to the banks of the Lot.
The peddler's path
Lower part of the ferryman's garden, on the banks of the Lot
"Sentinel" ferries mark the path that runs along the Lot.
The Capitular "De Villis"
This garden, which takes into account the existing orchard created in 2000, is divided into eight rooms of greenery devoted to the different plants mentioned in the De Villis chapter.
The Capitular "De Villis" is an edict promulgated by Charlemagne, which notably presents a list of the 94 plants that must be cultivated in the monasteries for food, clothing, treatment or work.
The Hortus of the Fairy Mélusine
Philippe Gaubert Park
The story of the fairy Mélusine is one of the most widespread legends in the Middle Ages. Character of a novel by Jean d'Arras in 1392, the fairy Mélusine, represented dressed in white, is transformed into a snake on certain occasions. This garden is available in white, between roses and grasses.