Visit Cahors (Midi-Pyrenees, France)
Cahors is found in the Lot department, at the northern of the Midi-Pyrenees. The town’s greatest claim to fame? Apparently Cahors shares the dubious distinction with Sodom of being mentioned in Dante's Inferno as a wicked place!
Virtually the whole of Cahors is squeezed onto a small peninsula in a loop in the river Lot. Apart from the Pont Valentre, it is the eastern side of the peninsula that is most interesting to visitors.
The main road that runs through Cahors is the Boulevard Gambetta. This broad street was built in the 19th century on the line of the moat that surrounded the original town fortifications and is now the central route through Cahors. Many of the townhouses and buildings (eg theatre, town hall, palace of justice) were built around the same time, as part of the towns restructuring.
In the historic town you will find the cathedral (not in itself especially interesting though it has a very attractive cloister) and the Old Town, a large number of impressive medieval townhouses on a warren of narrow lanes. Head south from the cathedral along Rue Nationale, and get drawn into the side streets.
Cahors medieval town dates back to the 13th century and it grew with the arrival of bankers and merchants into the town. They built fine houses, usually of brick, often with arcades for their shops. Good examples can be found in the Rue Nationale, Rue du Chateau du Roi and the Rue des Soubirous.
Parts of the original ramparts can still be seen in the north of the town along with the Barbacane and the Porte de la Barre.
Pont Valentre (Cahors bridge)
Above all there is one attraction in Cahors that is unmissable, and that is the famous bridge, the Pont Valentré . The bridge, built in the 14th century, is simply beautiful. It has three towers each with large arched gateways due to its historical role as a defensive bridge, and a couple of places where you can sit nearby with your picnic and admire it. The bridge is also recognised to be important enough to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other Cahors information
Cahors market is held on Saturdays and Wednesdays (adjacent to the cathedral) and this is a good time to visit.
The Museum Henri-Martin in Cahors has an extensive collection of artefacts that help explain the various transitions the town has passed through over the last several centuries. Another place to learn of the history of the town is at the renovated pumping station at Cabazat (next to the Pont Valentre).
The other reason for the fame of the town and region is Cahors wine - the local wines are highly reputed within France and internationally, especially the full-bodied red wine produced here. Head west along the Lot Valley to see the vineyards which produce the wine, and more chances to sample a little...
Cahors has become well known for its gardens. The town has, in recent years, created some wonderful small gardens scattered throughout the town and there is a map you can get from the tourist office « laissez vous conter les jardins de Cahors » to help you to walk Cahors’ garden trail. It is a wonderful way to explore the town and the trail leads you past all the main sights.
The gardens range from the small cloister garden of the cathedral to a beautifully planted roundabout to individual small gardens scattered around the town. Two of my favourites are the ‘garden of the witch and the dragon’ ( ‘le jardin de la sorciere et du dragon’), and the ‘jardin du passeur’. The first specialises in plants with black leaves and flowers and those associated with witchcraft. The jardin du passeur links the higher part of the town to the lower part next to the river. The garden descends down to the pond and garden area about half way down. Imaginative planting including some wonderful, very tall grasses is on display and there are a couple of areas where you can sit and relax in this wonderful space.
The concept and the excellent planting have won Cahors special merit in the Briggs and Stratten best park and garden competition and the town's gardens have been awarded ‘Jardin Remarquable’ status.
Photos of Cahors
Click any picture to start the gallery
Tourist classifications for Cahors
Cahors has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Cahors, Lot, Midi-Pyrenees, 46000 || GPS: latitude 44.445, longitude 1.4414
Map of Cahors & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Cahors, France
- Cahors cathédrale St Etienne (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site
- Jardins secrets de Cahors - remarkable garden
- Cahors Pont-Valentré (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site
- Saint-Cirq-Lapopie - most beautiful village (18km)
- Causses du Quercy - regional natural parc (24km)
- Cayriech - ville fleurie 4* (29km)
- Jardin du Pèlerin - remarkable garden (32km)
- Lauzerte - most beautiful village (32km)
- Jardin de la Daille - remarkable garden (33km)
- Gréalou dolmen de Pech-Laglaire (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (35km)
Market days in Cahors: Regular market(s) are held in Cahors each Wednesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Cahors (Francais)