Cahors (Occitan: Caors) is a commune on the Lot River in the western part of Southern France (Massif Central). It is the smallest prefecture among the 13 departments that constitute the Occitania region and is the main city of the Lot department and the historical center of the Quercy.

Cahors wines

Cahors is a red wine made from grapes grown in or around the town of Cahors in the Lot department of Southern France. Cahors is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) (controlled designation of origin) associated with part of the South West France wine-region. The dominant grape variety in AOC Cahors wines, Malbec (known locally as “Auxerrois” or “Côt”) must make up a minimum of 70% of the wine. Winemakers may supplement the Malbec with up to 30% Merlot and/or Tannat. Marketers may use the designation AOC Cahors only for red wines – they distribute the white and rosé wine produced in the same area under the designation Vin de Pays du Lot.

Cahors vineyards comprise 4,200 hectares (10,000 acres), with a planting density of at least 4000 vines per hectare. Today’s wine-growing area lies mainly west of the town of Cahors. The most important places are Mercuès, Parnac, Luzech, Prayssac, Grézels, Puy-l’Éveque and Vire sur Lot – all located in the valley of the Lot River.

Main attractions

The Pont Valentré, a 14th-century, six-span fortified stone arch bridge crossing the Lot River to the west of Cahors has become, in France a symbol of the city.

After the decision was made to build it on 30 April 1306, construction began on 17 June 1308. It was built between 1308 and 1378, with six Gothic arches and three-square bridge towers. It opened for use in 1350. It was originally fortified at both ends; the western tower did not survive.

This bridge was originally built due to the Franco-English Hundred-Year War. Paul Gout performed a major restoration from 1867 to 1879.

The fortified monument is classified as a historic monument and registered, since 1998, on the UNESCO world heritage list under the Camino de Santiago route to Santiago de Compostela.

This bridge can only be crossed by foot.

Cahors Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church. A national monument, it is an example of the transition between the late Romanesque and Gothic architectural traditions.

The well-illuminated nave is 44m x 20m wide. The two massive, 32 m-high, domes in the Byzantine style and resting on pendentives, are supported by six huge pilasters. Unusually, there is no transept. One of the domes is decorated with 14th-century frescoes, depicting the stoning of St. Stephen, as well as eight prophets, each riding an animal, in the fashion of Greek or Hindu deities. The walls have numerous other medieval paintings.

Other attractions (by districts):

Soubirous district. District located in the north of the city, between Place de la Libération and Place Lafayette.

Saint-Barthélemy Church, rue Saint-Barthélemy. The building was classified as a historic monument in 1933. Dating from the 14th century, the Catholic church was built in the highest district of the old town; its bell tower dates from the 13th and 14th centuries).

Collège Pélegry (13th century), crenellated staircase tower (MH), late 15th century (former medieval college), 95 rue du Four-Sainte-Catherine.

Maison Beraldi (13th and 14th centuries), 43 rue du Château du Roi.

Maison Faurie, private mansion (17th century), built from two medieval houses, 58 rue du Château-du-Roi.

Hôtel de Bodosquier established in the 17th century on an old medieval palace, 15 rue du Château-du-Roi.

Palais de Via (MH), former prison of Cahors, largely a strong medieval building, rue du Château-du-Roi.

Palais Duèze (MH) whose so-called “Pope John XXII” tower, 34 m high, is the only vestige of the palace built by Pierre Duèze, brother of Pope John XXII.

Half-timbered house (15th century), 53 rue des Soubirous.

Bote Pierre de Bernié, typical alley with its half-timbered corbelled houses.

Cathedral Quarter. District located in the center of the city, between rue Clemenceau and Place de la Libération.

Saint-Étienne Cathedral in Cahors. The building was classified as a historic monument in 1862 and 2020. Located on Place Jean Jacques Chapou, mixing elements of Romanesque and Gothic styles (from the 11th to the 17th century). A masterpiece of the flamboyant Gothic style.

Archideaconium, palace located in the courtyard of the cathedral, built from two 12th century houses.

Maison Henri-IV or Hôtel de Roaldès (15th century) (MH), Place Henri-IV.

Cuvier du Chapter (MH), important medieval building from the 14th century, 35 rue de la Chantrerie.

Maison Hérétie (13th and 14th centuries), 12 rue de la Dorade.

Maison Dolive (17th century), 24 rue de la Dorade.

Maison du Executioner (13th century), 42 rue de la Dorade.

Badernes district. District located in the south of the city, between rue Clemenceau and the far south of the city.

Saint-Urcisse Church. The building was classified as a historic monument in 1988. Rue Saint-Urcisse, Gothic style.

Hôtel de Marcilhac (17th century), 116 rue Nationale.

Romanesque house (13th century), 128 rue Nationale.

Maison Viguier-Fraust (14th century), 35 rue de l’Université.

Hotel and tower of Issala (15th century), 83 rue du Dr-Bergougnioux.

Maison Dominici (13th and 14th centuries), 186 rue Nationale.

Maison Mauruc (13th century), 77 rue du Dr-Bergougnioux.

Hôtel Lemozy (13th century) (very beautiful Renaissance windows), 68 rue du Dr-Bergougnioux.

Maison Corsavy (14th century), 35 rue de Lastié.

Restaurants

There are 2 Michelin list restaurants in the city:

  • L’Ô à la Bouche, 56 allées Fénelon, Modern Cuisine
  • Le Bistro 1911, 5 avenue Charles-de-Freycinet, Modern Cuisine

How to get to?

Railways

The city of Cahors is equipped with an SNCF railway station with two central platforms.

The station is served by:

trains from the Intercités network circulating between ParisAusterlitz and Cahors or ToulouseMatabiau for some of them;

trains from the Intercités network at night, which run between Paris-Austerlitz and Cerbère or Portbou;

trains from the TER Occitanie network which run between Toulouse-Matabiau and Brive-la-Gaillarde (Cahors station is served by one train per hour during peak hours and by one train every two hours during off-peak hours).

Shortest distances by car:

From Paris: 5 hr 30 min (577 km) via A20

From Toulouse: 1 hr 24 min (114 km) via A62 and A20

From Andorra: 3 hr 38 min (294 km) via A20

From Barcelona: 4 hr 40 min (505 km) via AP-7 and A61

From Madrid: 8 hr 31 min (829 km) via A-1

From Monaco: 6 hr 41 min (694 km) via A8

From Moscow: 34 hr (3,351 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 18 hr 27 min (1,911 km) via A4

From Istanbul: 29 hr (2,860 km) via A4

From Bern: 7 hr 17 min (763 km) via A89

Main information

Area: 64,72 km2

Population: 20 141

Coordinates: 44°26′54″N 1°26′29″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

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