Along the Lot Valley

The Lot Valley boasts a series of picturesque villages and sites that are worth the detour.

Troglodyte dwellings along the Lot Valley
Troglodyte dwellings

The panoramic D662 road follows the river bed between Capdenac-le-Haut and Cahors and delineates the departments of Lot and Aveyron.

The Lot River rises at 1400m on Mont Goulet in the department of Lozère.

It flows for 480km and cuts its way through the limestone cliff of the Causses of Quercy.

It then slithers through the alluvial plains, where it carved an amazing network of meanders or cingles.

It eventually flows into the Garonne River at Aiguillon near to the city of Agen.

The Lot was once a major fluvial route.

However, water traffic declined after the construction of the railway line in the mid 19th century.

Long gone are therefore the barges transported cheese, wine and coal to Bordeaux.

These were locally known as gabares or argentats – the latter being named after the town where they were built –  or sapines – pine wood.

As for the Lot, locals call it Olt!

Capdenac to Cahors

Chateau de Salvagnac-Carjac - Lot Valley
Chateau de Salvagnac-Carjac – Lot Valley

The first sites you’ll come across are Balaguier d’Olt, the fortified church and village of St-Pierre-Toirac Church and the Castle of Larroque-Toirac.

The village of Montbrun is perched farther along, on the cliff  top.

It stretches under its ruined feudal castle and therefore boasts prime views of the valley and the Cajarc tableland.

It also has direct view of Le Saut de la Mounine in Saujac, a spectacular viewpoint linked to a lovely legend.

Chateau de Cenevieres - View of the Lot Valley from the terrace
terrace

The little bastide of Cajarc owes its fame to the late President Georges Pompidou who owned a property on the outskirts of town.

A metal bridge spans the river and leads to the little village of Salvagnac-Cajarc on the south bank.

The castle was beautifully restored and peaks above the village houses.

The Château de Cenevières is farther west, on the same bank.

This elegant Renaissance castle, which has retained a 13th century Romanesque tower, is a listed Historical Monument.

It also boasts elegant terraces that peak 70m above the  river and the road.

The D662 will take you then to Saint-Cirq-la-Popie, one of the most beautiful villages in France, then Bouzies before reaching Cahors, a city renowned for its cathedral, fortified bridge …and wine!

Capdenac-le-Haut: Lat 44.581179 – Long 2.069595
Cahors: Lat 44.448602 – Long 1.443447

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