Places to visit along the River Lot, France

Read about the 5 top attractions to see along the Lot River

The serpentine Lot River courses through the beautiful Lot and Cele Valleys in the South of France. These life-rich valleys are also home to an array of medieval wonderlands that paint perfect fairy tale landscapes while prehistoric markings of early man lie deep within the Earth. Over the centuries, artists have been inspired by the region’s natural beauty and fascinating history. Walk between carved out cliffs, explore hidden castles and sample some of France’s finest Fois Gras all along the Lot. Now that’s a Lot to do and see!

  1. Cahors
  2. The Cliff Castles
  3. Pre-historic Caves
  4. Musee de l'Insolite
  5. Saint-Cirq Lapopie 

 

Cahors

Cahors is a unique and marvellous town located along the Lot River. The iconic Valentre Bridge will most likely be the first landmark you encounter. The fantastic architectural feat has a wonderful legend to tell as it’s one of the Devil’s Bridges from classic European folklore.  Do try and spot the fabled devil on the bridge as you pass!

Cahors came to its height during the medieval era in France, but it has been long inhabited by the ancient Celtics who worshipped the Divona fountain which is now known as La Fontaine des Chartreus. There are plenty of sites to visit in Cahors, as well as opportunities to go wine tasting and sample the exclusive Chaors appellation. Cahors is also known for its beautiful gardens and has a trail that leads you through the city, while allowing you to visit the main attractions!

 

cahors

 

The Cliff Castles of the Lot and Cele Valleys

The Lot Valley is home to a group of awe-inspiring medieval castles that were built into the mountain cliffs overlooking the valley. They are known as the Chateaux des Anglais and served as forts to protect civilians from attacks along the river. These amazing constructions can be seen along the Lot Valley between Cahors and Saint Cirq La Popie. Access to the castle interiors are only available once a year during a festival.

Cabrerets translates as Goat in the original Occitan language and is home to some amazing natural and historical wonders of France. Cabrerets is home to three more of the cliff castles that lie in the adjacent Cele Valley. One of those castles are known as the Devil’s castle as a band of thieves once inhabited it during the Hundred Years War.

 

 

 

Pre-historic Caves

There are about 12 prehistoric caves containing ancient rock art and symbols in the Lot-Cele Valleys. The most famous is the Pech Merle which is estimated to be around 29 000 years old and is open to the public. The caves lie in a hillside near Cabrerets and also has a museum explaining the prehistoric geology and history of the area.

 

 

Musee de l’Insolite

The Musee de l’insolite is a hidden gem along the Lot, not far from Cabrerets and accessible via the river bank. For a few Euros you can visit this one of a kind museum, where the artist has created some surreal works with humour that the whole family can enjoy. You can find deconstructed cars, sculptures built in the rock facades and mythical references peeking out from the beautiful foliage of the garden. A real treasure trove for the weird and wonderful!

 

lot river

 

The Tow Paths of the Lot Valley

The marvellous Tow Paths are cut into the side of the towering cliffs along the Lot River. Starting from Bouzies, you either walk or ride your bicycle along these paths that take you to Saint-Cirq Lapopie. You can witness some art works made by modern artists along the rock walls. It’s undoubtedly a unique experience and offers amazing photographic opportunities.

 

tow paths lot

 

Saint-Cirq Lapopie

Saint-Cirq Lapopie was once voted France’s ‘Most Beautiful Village’, and it’s not hard to see why. This beautiful town with its castle turrets, cobble-stoned pathways and leafy paths offer those travelling along the Lot River a real treat. Saint-Cirq Lapopie receives over 400 000 visitors a year as tourists pour in to explore this beautiful town located upon a cliff. Medieval fort walls line the town, with many fantastic authentic French restaurants offering the best Fois Gras, cheese platters and wines. Do try and visit the morning and evening markets selling fresh produce and delicious ready to eat home made goods. C’est genial!

 

lapopie

 

 

Interested in exploring the hidden beauty of the Lot River?

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE AVAILIBILITY FOR THE LOT RIVER CRUISE