Capital of the Lot département in southwestern France, Cahors sits in a natural meander of the river Lot. UNESCO World Heritage listed Valentré Bridge, with its three towers, is a symbol of the might the city wielded during the medieval period. It still exerts its influence today – now drawing tourists with its charming and historic ochre-coloured buildings, pretty squares, secret gardens and 19th-century Boulevard Gambetta, lined with pavement cafes.
Lot is a place of natural wonders, rocky landscapes, lush meadows and over 2,000km of waterways. The département has a rugged beauty and has become a serious contender for house-hunters looking for a less-expensive alternative to its ever-popular neighbour Dordogne. It’s got a lot going for it if you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten track to start your new life in France – including more open spaces and fewer people than Dordogne.
In Cahors, you can enjoy urban living or have a handy pied-à-terre (or rental property)within easy reach of Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park, where you can immerse yourself in nature on foot, mountain bike or horseback along the more than 1,000km of paths that cover this vast terrain. Also within striking distance are no less than 11 Plus Beaux Villages, and clifftop villages such as Rocamadour and Saint-Cirq Lapopie (a Village préféré des français).
Property types in and around Cahors range from medieval townhouses to villas with pools and character country residences with several hectares. A decent-sized apartment in the centre will cost €250,000-€300,000 and a three-bedroom townhouse €500,000. We’ve spotted a beautifully renovated maison de maître with a swimming pool and outbuildings for €475,000. A few kilometres out of the city, you can still find doer-uppers for under €100,000, or poolside villas for €250,000-€450,000 and village houses for €150,000-€250,000.
You can travel to Cahors by train, with the TGV from Paris taking about five hours, while Toulouse, Brive and Bergerac airports all serve the Lot. The weather in this area is not dissimilar to that of the south of England, with mildish winters and moderate summers, which can be long and warm, and rainfall in the spring. Lot is certainly providing a viable alternative to Dordogne, and Cahors is a great base to enjoy all it has to offer…
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Lead photo credit : The Valentre bridge on the river Lot in Cahors - Shutterstock
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