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Culture & History

Local things to do and see

Plenty to see, plenty to do. Something for everyone

The region around Manoir Les Gaillardoux is a lively centre of activities based around its rivers, pre-historic caves, gastronomy, vineyards, villages and history The Lot has played many roles in the rich history of the Midi-Pyrenees and beyond: historical links with England started with the accession of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
From 1152, Quercy was part of the kingdom of England, but was extensively fought over until 1450, when the English left Cahors. A famous Bishop of Cahors became Pope in Avignon during a “break in relations” with Rome. The region is also deeply linked with Cathar history.
Numerous local festivals and cultural activities recalling more recent history take place throughout the year.



While at the Manoir, why not visit the historical town of Cahors and other mediaeval towns and villages?
Other cultural activities include pre-historic cave paintings, and music, theatre and cinema festivals.

The region boasts many intact spectacular cliff-top fortresses and historical remains. Le Pont Valentré, a magnificent medieval bridge at Cahors, the 11th century cathedral at Cahors, and the medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, on its rocky promontory dominating the Lot valley, are all under half an hour’s drive from the Manoir. The privately-owned, stunning 15c Chateau de Cieurac near Lalbenque has been recently restored and dominates the view over a suspended valley.

The limestone geology throughout Périgord and Quercy has resulted in series of caves, open to the public, where stunning pre-historical cave paintings can be seen.

Local events and activities

From weekly markets to annual village “fetes”, there is always plenty going on in the Quercy region.

The Lotois are convivial people and welcome their summer visitors. A number of local music and theatrefestivals animate the summer months. In addition, many villages hold their own “fetes”, often including a market, music and dancing, fireworks, special meals and sometimes even a cycle or running race.

In July and August each year, the banks of the Lot river at Cahors are transformed into a beach where you can swim in the river, enjoy games and activities, and picnic with friends and family.


The nearest market to Manoir Les Gaillardoux is held at Lalbenque on Saturday mornings, where fresh, local, seasonal products can be purchased direct from the producer. The Cahors market takes place on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, in the heart of the medieval city at the foot of Saint-Etienne Cathedral. Here, you can find all the colours and flavours of the local produce, from “foie gras” to Cahors wines and including delicious local fruit and vegetables. Cahors also has a “permanent” food market held in a square building near the Cathedral. Other weekly markets take place within an easy drive of Manoir Les Gaillardoux.


What to do in Cahors on a rainy day

There are few rainy days when you spend a summer in France, but last time I visited Cahors Cathedral, I admit that it was partly to escape the rain.

The Quercy region is spiced with medieval architecture and Cahors is a gem with its spectacular 14th century Valentré bridge over the river Lot and the cathedral which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Whatever your religious beliefs, the inside of the cathedral is a place of calm and contemplation where, since the tumultuous middle ages, it has been an antidote to excitement.

Enter the cathedral through the huge oak doors and you will experience the feel of vast marble floors, celestial cloisters, sculpted figures, catholic faith. All is true here.

My preferred place is the cloister, a real masterpiece of the Flamboyant Gothic style, which was constructed between 1493 and 1553.

As I stood in its shelter with the rain pouring down onto the enclosed garden, I half expected a sandaled monk to pass by…

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