The time-burnished city of Cahors in south-western France is renowned for its stunning architecture and robust red wine. With 120 building listed as historical monuments, Cahors is a delight to explore. Its long rich history can be traced back to the Gallo-Roman times from which some ruins remain preserved. In the Middle Ages, its strategic position on an important route to Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem brought many pilgrims and prosperity to the town.
Start you walk through the old town from the Pont Valentré across the River Lot. The local legend says that during its construction in the 1300s, the architect in exchange for his soul asked the devil to help him to finish the bridge. Today, the striking Pont Valentré is one of the most photographed landmarks in France.
The 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Etienne dominates the town’s beautiful old centre and resembles a sturdy fortified castle with lovely stained glass windows. A local market sprawls across the square in front of the cathedral every Saturday and Wednesday. Stroll along the stalls laden with colourful fruit, glossy vegetables, fragrant herbs and delicious cheeses from the area.
Follow a marked trail through the old town to see the medieval gardens of Augustinian friars, Moorish gardens and a lovely cloistered garden of Henri IV. During high season, hop on a Petit Train to see the city or hire a horse-drawn carriage. From May to September you can also board a cruise boat to see the splendour of Cahors from a different angle.
|Cathedral of Saint Etienne|
Stroll along the tree-lined Boulevard de Gambetta dotted with elegant fountains, excellent restaurants and great shops. Chill out in one of the charming cafes here sampling delicious cakes or sip a glass of Cahors’ famous dark red wine that has been produced here since medieval times. The town has a museum dedicated to local wines or you can also visit a vineyard for a degustation.
Photos via Flickr by: Tom De Mulder, Marcel Musil, Jean-Jacques Boujot.