Saint-Cere travel guide

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Visit Saint-Cere (Occitanie, France)

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Saint-Céré is a market town in the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrenees, in the Bave River valley, where it sits below the hill with Saint-Laurent-les-Tours above.

Explore Saint-Céré

France This Way review: the town of Saint-Céré is quite a lively destination and well placed to explore this attractive region: the town has several interesting sites to discover and merits an exploration

I strongly recommend that start your visit at the Saint-Céré tourist office (in avenue François de Maynard near the main car park / square).

medieval-houses

There are some fascinating medieval and turreted houses that you may miss if you don't follow the suggested route through the town (especially around Rue St Cyr) - there is lots to see and enjoy here but some of the highlights are rather hidden away.

The centre of Saint-Céré is quite compact and based around two main squares, the Place du Mercadial and the Place de l'Eglise These two squares are together surrounded by the medieval centre of the town, with narrow streets and ancient houses. There are quite a few half-timbered houses here, with the oldest house in the town in Rue Paramelle.

The Place du Mercadial is very attractive with some impressive buildings to admire, some of them now shops and restaurants. The principal building in the square is the 15th century Maison des Consuls.

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In the smaller Place de l'Eglise the main monument is the Church of Saint-Sperien, with origins dating back to the 10th century.

After exploring the old town in Saint-Céré take a walk along the river at the Quai des Recollets. The town calls itself 'Little Venice' which in truth is something of an over-enthusiastic claim to make but there are a few buildings of interest here on the river side, which is now canalised.

Interesting fact: at the beginning of the 20th century an inventor called Charles Bourseul lived in Saint-Céré. You have probably never heard of him, but he invented the use of electricity to transmit speech through wires, later used by Graham Bell when he invented the telephone, and opening the doors to every phone and communication device we have today...

You can now head up the hill to discover the ruins of the castle at Saint-Laurent-les-Tours. The main part of the castle dates from the 12th and 15th centuries (the two towers we see today were built in the 14th and 15th centuries), and although the hill is only 200 metres high it has lovely views across Saint-Céré and the countryside.

During this medieval period, the town - at that time called Saint-Spérie - was on the hill around the castle, it was only later that it relocated to the riverside below. Saint-Spérie was a martyr who was decapitated by a man she refused to marry because she had decided to dedicate her life to God

Workshop and Museum of Jean Lurçat at Saint-Céré

The Chateau de Saint-Laurent-les-Tours played an important role in recent history when the French resistance operated a secret radio base from here during the Second World War.

After the war the castle was bought and restored by an artist called Jean Lurçat, later bequeathed to the town by his widow on condition that the works of art displayed in the castle remained open to the public.

As a result there is an interesting museum here of the art of Jean Lurçat, typically large and colourful tapestries and paintings: we recommend you visit to see both the building and the artworks, even if you have never heard of Jean Lurcat!

River Bave in Saint-Céré

Attractions nearby

Highlights in and around Saint-Cere are numerous with a great deal to explore and several of the 'most beautiful villages in France' are found nearby. Just two kilometres from the town there is an impressive renaissance style castle called the Chateau de Montal, more typical of castles you might expect to discover in the Loire Valley.

To the west you can follow the Dordogne valley towards Souillac; to the north is the southern Correze with Loubressac, Autoire and Curemonte being among the prettiest of the villages.

To the south-west of Saint-Cere be sure to visit Rocamadour and the Goufre de Padirac, to the south you will find the lovely historic town at Figeac.

Explore elsewhere in the Massif Central. You can find more travel ideas in the Lot guide and the Midi-Pyrenees guide.

See also: 

Photos of Saint-Cere

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Map of Saint-Cere and places nearby

 
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Visit near Saint-Cere with France This Way reviews

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Loubressac guide
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Bretenoux

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Bretenoux guide
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Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux

The Chateau de Castelnau-Loubressac is an imposing medieval castle built in red stone

Chateau de Castelnau-Bretenoux guide
Gouffre de Padirac

Gouffre de Padirac

The Gouffre de Padirac is the most popular cave system in France

Gouffre de Padirac guide
Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne

The town of Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne you can explore the attractive old town and walk along the Dordogne river

Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Lot

Address: Saint-Céré, Figeac, Midi-Pyrenees, 46400, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 44.8597, longitude 1.89167

Plan your visit to Saint-Cere, Lot

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Saint-Cere (Francais)

 
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