The 13 most beautiful villages in the Lot

Villages du Lot : Albas

Are you planning a trip to south-west France? Take a look at our list of the most beautiful villages in the Lot, and see for yourself!

The villages of the Lot will not leave you indifferent. The whole department is dotted with charming medieval villages that seem to be frozen in time. All these towns steeped in history have kept their soul of yesteryear, and are a delight to stroll through. You’ll discover medieval buildings and exceptional natural landscapes.

Castles overlooking rivers bear witness to the Lot’s strategic position in the past. Many of the villages are considered to be among the most beautiful in the country, and you’ll soon see why on your tour of the Lot villages.

1. Rocamadour

Rocamadour, un joli village français sur une falaise de Midi-Pyrénées

Photo credit: Shutterstock – bjul

We get straight to the heart of the matter with one of the Lot’s most beautiful villages. Rocamadour clings to the rock face, more than 120 metres above the Alzou canyon. The first glimpse of the village is like stepping inside a fantasy tale. Houses and churches blend into the rock, in a green setting.

Looking at the churches on the summit, it’s easy to see why Rocamadour has been a major pilgrimage destination for centuries. The Church of Saint-Sauveur and the Crypt of Saint-Amadour are listed by Unesco as World Heritage Sites, as part of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Enter the town through the Porte du Figuier, before following Rocamadour’s only street: La Couronnerie.

Then branch off to the grand staircase, which takes you 233 steps to the forecourt, where the 8 churches and chapels stand. The Notre-Dame chapel houses the Black Madonna, a 12th-century wooden statue. From the castle ramparts, you can dominate the town and enjoy panoramic views over the region.

In Rocamadour, you can also visit the Grotte des Merveilles with its cave paintings, the Rocher des Aigles and the Forêt des Singes. Rocamadour is not to be missed.

2. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anibal Trejo

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is one of France’s most beautiful villages. Voted France’s favorite village in 2012, it stands on a cliffside above a meander in the Lot river. The church dominates the rest of the town, which boasts no fewer than 13 historic monuments. Take a stroll through the pleasant narrow streets and follow the contemporary art trail.

Many artists have settled in this incomparably charming town to draw inspiration. The poet André Breton declared after settling in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie that « I have ceased to desire myself elsewhere ». That’s certainly the impression you’ll get when you visit this village in the Lot.

3. Autoire

Plus beaux villages du Lot : Autoire

Photo credit: Shutterstock – leoks

The villages of the Lot region feature prominently in the ranking of France’s most beautiful villages. Autoire is one of them for its remarkable architectural ensemble. Half-timbered or corbelled facades are topped by sloping, dark-tiled roofs. Numerous castles and manor houses have earned Autoire the nickname « Little Versailles ». Saint-Céré’s notables made it their favorite vacation spot.

Today, the heritage trail allows you to discover all Autoire’s monuments. In particular, it takes you to the highest waterfall in the département, at over 30 metres. Above the limestone cliffs overlooking this beautiful Lot village, you’ll discover the Château des Anglais. This medieval structure, just 2 metres wide, is at one with the rock, offering a panoramic view of the region and the village below.

4. Cardaillac

Villages du Lot : Cardaillac

Photo credit: Flickr – yngwiemanux

Another exceptional Lot village awaits you in Cardaillac. Start your visit with the jewel of the village: the fort with its well-preserved round and square towers. You’ll appreciate just how narrow the streets below are. Prepare yourself for an extraordinary experience with a visit to the « exploded museum ». Push open the doors of the buildings to discover a chestnut dryer, a prune steamer, a clogmaker’s house… So many forgotten trades that are highlighted in Cardaillac and remind us of the way of life of yesteryear.

A village in the Lot not to be missed!

5. Loubressac

Villages du Lot : Loubressac

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Rrrainbow

This Lot village perched on a rocky promontory overlooks the Cère, Bave and Dordogne valleys. The view from the village is magnificent, with Castelnau and Montal castles and the Towers of Saint-Laurent in the background. A short one-kilometre walk takes you through the village, with its castle and Saint-Jean-Baptiste church.

And don’t miss the Maday bridge over the Bave, where the pilgrims used to travel between Le Puy-en-Velay and Rocamadour.

6. Carrenac

Villages du Lot : Carrenac

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Alexey Gorshenin

This village in the Lot department has been classified as a Pays d’Art et d’Histoire for its architectural and historical heritage. There are numerous monuments to visit, including the Château des Doyens and the half-Romanesque, half-Flamboyant Gothic cloister. The Saint-Pierre church and its 12th-century tympanum are also not to be missed.

But it’s above all the gentle way of life that prevails in the village that strikes visitors as they stroll along the banks of the Dordogne. Your visit to Carrenac will take you back in time!

7. Capdenac-le-Haut

Villages du Lot : Capdenac-le-Haut

Photo credit: Flickr – genevieve.ducret

Perched 110 meters above a meander in the Lot river, Capdenac-le-Haut takes shape around its 14th-century keep. Visit the tourist office to pick up your « Keys to Capdenac-le-Haut » guide. This tour will take you through the medieval streets to the many troglodyte fountains and other monuments.

Look up to admire the architectural marvels that dot the buildings: slate or flat tile roofs and dovecotes. It was also here that Caesar fought his last battle against the Gallic resistance. The Roman occupation that followed left many traces that give this Lot village its special charm.

8. Marcilhac-sur-Célé

Marcilhac-sur-Célé

Photo credit: Flickr – Patrick Nouhailler

On the route to Santiago de Compostela, Marcilhac-sur-Célé is built around its 12th-century abbey, whose well-preserved ruins remain. Exceptional scenery awaits you, with an immense limestone cliff overlooking the village. After exploring the village’s cobbled streets, take a dip in the Célé river.

9. Puy-l’Evêque

Puy-l’Evêque

Photo credit: Flickr – dvdbramhall

The golden stone houses of Puy l’Evêque are intertwined and reflected in the waters of the Lot. Stroll through the maze of narrow streets in this medieval town, with its evocative names: rue des bateliers, rue des cloutiers, rue des teinturiers… They bear witness to the economic activity of the town, which was once one of the most important ports on the Lot.

If you climb to the top of the hill, you’ll find two monuments that dominate the town. The 13th-century tower was part of the castrum, which has now disappeared. Saint-Sauveur church, built in the 14th and 15th centuries, impresses with its Gothic ribbed nave.

10. Albas

Villages du Lot : Albas

Photo credit: Flickr – Jean-Marc Bilquez

Albas la Jolie is just 20 kilometers from Cahors. The historic heart of the village lies on a rocky spur overlooking the river. The castle was used to watch over the crossings over the Lot, before the bishops of Cahors made it one of their residences. Albas is one of the Lot villages where wine is produced under the Cahors appellation.

Don’t miss out on a visit to a vineyard. You’ll also be able to take home a souvenir of your vacation from the many art craftsmen and women who populate the narrow streets.

11. Martel

Martel

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mikhail Varentsov

This rich merchant town was founded at a commercial crossroads where wine from Aquitaine and precious salt from the Atlantic passed through. The « city of 7 towers » welcomes you to its narrow streets and squares, where you’ll find cafés, restaurants and craft stores.

Climb aboard the « Truffadou », a steam-powered tourist train originally used to transport truffles up the cliffside. You’ll enjoy beautiful views of Martel and the surrounding area. In the village, follow the discovery itineraries on different themes such as gastronomy or puzzle games for children.

12. Cabrerets

Cabrerets

Photo credit: Shutterstock – chrisatpps

At the confluence of the Sagne and Célé rivers, not far from Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, lies the charming village of Cabrerets. The Château des Anglais, clinging to the cliff, is one of the oldest medieval buildings in the Lot. There are also numerous troglodyte houses carved into the rock. Not far from Cabrerets, the Pech Merle cave is home to prehistoric cave paintings.

And if you want to relax, there’s a lovely pebble beach not far from the center of this little Lot village. Not bad, eh?

13. Les Arques

Villages du Lot : Les Arques

Photo credit: Flickr – catherine ¨MOSINIAK-PAILLIER

Since the 11th century, the village of Les Arques has stood on a small limestone ridge above the surrounding oak forests. The Russian sculptor Zadkine settled here in the 1930s, and many of his works decorate the streets of the hamlet. There’s even a museum dedicated to him, and many contemporary artists now live in Les Arques, making this Lot village a cultural stopover not to be missed.

A lovely 4-kilometre hiking trail allows you to explore the surrounding area, before pushing open the door to Saint-Laurent church.

So, have you fallen in love with the villages of the Lot? If so, we understand!

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