A city of art and history, there is no shortage of superlatives to describe Cahors. The town is full of historical and unusual places to visit, the surrounding area is full of hiking trails for nature lovers, and the markets are full of charm where the inhabitants come to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. It's simple: the region itself smells like a holiday. But where to start? With this article, discover Cahors and prepare your stay like a pro!
The Valentré Bridge is a small local celebrity. However, many visitors miss this historical nugget. It is therefore impossible not to mention it in this article.
Classified as a historic monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valentré Bridge stands out for its medieval-style architecture. This fortified bridge, dating from the 14th century, crosses the Lot to the west of Cahors. With its six large Gothic arches topped by three square towers 40 metres high, it impresses any visitor!
But beyond the structure that everyone admires, it is its history that sticks to it. Indeed, the Valentré Bridge is also called the "Devil's Bridge", in reference to the legend that surrounds its construction. It is said that the master builder, exasperated by the slowness of the work, signed a pact with the devil to speed up the completion of the bridge. In 1879, Paul Gout had a stone carved with the effigy of an imp placed on one of the towers.
The Valentré Bridge is now on the GR 36 hiking trail, one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.
The pterosaur beach
15 minutes from Cahors, in the Lot valley at Crayssac, is a rather strange beach, 150 million years old. Yes, you read that right: with the Pterosaur Beach, you can be in the heart of an incredible paleontological site, classified as a national nature reserve. You can still see the footprints left by dinosaurs, pterosaurs, turtles and crustaceans.
A goldmine for our scientists and a great opportunity for visitors to learn more. You are free to ask questions to the friendly guide who will accompany your discovery. Travelling back in time is possible, literally, thanks to the great work of the experts and thousands of hours of excavation.
The guided tour lasts one hour and is very affordable. Important to know: the tours are perfectly suited for children. Ideal for family outings!
Historical sites: the must-sees in Cahors
Here, we cheat a little. Cahors has such a rich historical heritage that it is difficult to choose THE place to visit. Here are three places to discover for the most curious among you:
- St. Stephen's Cathedral.
A Roman Catholic cathedral built in the 12th century, St Stephen's Cathedral has a long history behind it. A true masterpiece of Gothic art, you can freely visit the interior and admire the architecture and gardens. In the Saint-Gausbert chapel, a relic awaits you: the Holy Headdress, the mortuary cloth that would have been used for the burial of Jesus.
- The water house and Chartreux fountain
Not far from the Valentré bridge, the Maison de l'eau offers you a visit to its museum, which traces the history of the city's first drinking water pumping station. Much more than a simple stroll, it is the discovery of an archaeological site that awaits you. The mechanisms and gears, used between 1853 and 1971, are preserved and show how Cahors was at the cutting edge of technology. The building itself is just as fascinating, with its metal framework and high windows.
- The old Archdeaconry
Adjacent to Cahors Cathedral, the Archdeaconry is accessible via a small street in the old quarter. Dating from the 16th century, this building nestled between the cloister and the cathedral will offer you a moment of calm and freshness. A real secret garden, you will find old-fashioned plants, vegetables, aromatic herbs and fruit trees which the monks look after. A place that is still too little known, but well worth a visit!
CapNature: a leisure park for the whole family
Fifteen minutes from Cahors, on the banks of the river Lot, the CapNature leisure park is a growing success with families - but not only!
The park has 12 hectares of untouched forest, where many activities for families and friends await you. All the facilities are designed to respect nature and allow you to have fun while being in the heart of the woods. For example, you will find different tree climbing and tree climbing courses, adapted to your level. In addition, you can also take part in group activities such as laser games, paintball, mini-golf or treasure hunts!
Do you want more? For those who love to slide, CapNature offers you a sensational sport: water skiing!
Whether with friends or family, CapNature is an ideal destination for a fun and carefree afternoon. For more information, please visit their website.
If you love breathtaking views, photography and nature, Mont Saint-Cyr is the place for you.
If the Mount is accessible by car, it is possible to walk the route by following the hiking trail. For the more courageous, a 3/4 hour walk awaits you, but it is well worth it. At the top, there is an unobstructed view of Cahors as well as a cosy spot to picnic and enjoy nature. You will overlook the whole city, where you can admire the cathedral, the Valentré bridge and the whole historical part.
Of course, we could also have talked about the Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy, Rocamadour, a magnificent little village located on the road to Santiago de Compostela... In short, you have not finished discovering the wonders of the Lot!