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A guide to Lot, Midi-Pyrenees

Category: Midi-Pyrenees - Departments
Department No : 46
Prefecture : Cahor
Subprefecture : Figeac, Gourdon
Arrondissements : 3
Cantons : 31
Communes : 340
Area : 5,217 km2
Economy : Agriculture, wine production, livestock
To Visit : Rocamadour, Cahors, St Cirq Lapopie, Figeac
Attractions : Gouffre de Padirac, Eagle rock bird park, Monkey forest
Events : Gindou film festival, Cahors Arts and Crafts exhibition, Rocamadour Festival of sacred music
Population: 160,197

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Geography and climate

Lot was one of the original 83 departments formed during the French Revolution in 1790 and was created from part of the Languedoc Province.  Before the revolution the area was known as Quercy and you will still many references to that name.  It was then reduced in size in 1808 and part of the southern area was used to form Lot-et-Garonne.

 

The Lot is located at the very north-west end of the Midi-Pyrenees region just to the east of the Dordogne with its capital at Cahors, one of Frances most ancient towns.  The west and southwest are hilly whereas the northern area is known as the Causses and is a large limestone plateau.

 

Tourism

The department of the Lot has many small pretty villages and dramatic gorges, all against a backdrop of beautiful scenery. 

 

Five villages in the department are listed as the most beautiful in France (Plus Beaux Villages des France), including St Cirq Lapopie and it should most definitely be on you list to visit.  The village is on a cliff 80 metres above the River Lot and is entered through fortified gates.

 

Cahors is worth a visit to see the Pont Valentre and Figeac has a medieval centre and a number of museums.  All along the Lot River there are pretty villages worth exploring.

 

The north of the Lot has gorges carved in the limestone by rivers and many valleys.  Of particular interest here is Rocamadour, a village built into a near vertical cliff face topped off with a chateau and a popular stop off point on the pilgrimage routes.  It is one of the most visited places in France.  A little to the north, situated on the Dordogne, is the medieval town of Martel which is well worth a visit.

 

To the east from here are three of Frances "most beautiful villages", Carennac, Loubressac and Autoire which are all worth making time for.

 

Close to Rocamadour, there are the caves of LaCave and Padirac to explore.  The trip to Padirac is partly by underground boat, adding extra interest. 

 

Economy

Tourism is a growing area of the economy and with the beautiful countryside and villages like Rocamadour it is not surprising.  Add in the local Lot wines and it's a winning combination.

 

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, particularly cereals, fruit and vegetables while vineyards also play a substantial role.  On the plateau, livestock farming is important and the only real industry is an aeronautical factory at Figeac.

 

Cuisine

The Lot is renowned for its fois gras, duck, goose and truffles.  It also has vineyards and the well known Black Wine of Cahors, which as the name suggests is virtually black in colour, rich and strong.

 

Transport

Access by car is very good with the A20 motorway going right through the centre of the department from north to south and providing a direct route from Paris to Toulouse.  Driving time from Paris is around five hours and to Toulouse about 90 minutes.  There is also the A89, linking Clermont-Ferrand to Brive and Bordeaux that runs along the departments north border from east to west.  Roads into the department from the motorway are usually well maintained and quiet, just avoid August if possible.

 

By train the Paris to Toulouse line runs through the department and calls at Souillac, Goudon and Cahors.  Local services run to some of the larger towns and there is a service calling at Rocamadour-Padirac.

 

Toulouse-Blagnac International airport is 90 minutes south and offers various routes to the UK.  Rodez airport is around two hours to the east with Ryanair operating services to Dublin and Stansted, while internal flights are available to Lyon and Paris-Orly.

 

To the north is the newly opened Brive-Vallée de la Dordogne airport in the Corrèze department of Limousin.  The airport currently offers scheduled flights to Paris and London City, but if proves successful it may eventually attract one of the budget airlines.

 

Check our travel pages for further information.

Take a look at our accommodation pages for the Lot to find your perfect place to stay.

Property for sale in the Lot. 
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