For lovers of fine architecture, the Lot and nearby Périgord regions are full of art and history. The most beautiful buildings to see:
The narrow streets of the old Cahors, the Valentré bridge (one of the finest medieval fortified bridges in France), the 12th century Saint-Etienne cathedral, with its Gothic cloister and magnificent façade, and the medieval archdeaconry garden. The best views of the town are from the Quai Champollion and the Mont Saint-Cyr.
Thanks to the Hundred Years war and the wars of religion, Quercy acquired dozens of fortresses over the centuries, rebuilt in the Renaissance and later on in history. Particularly worthy of a visit are the castles of Bonaguil and Najac, and further north Castelnau-Bretenoux.
Closer to home, Cénevières castle with its 13th century keep offers guided tours all year round.
To the south, and the ‘white’ Quercy, after Montcuq, follow in the footsteps of the Compostela pilgrims since the 12th century, and stop in the village of Lauzerte. You can even carry on to the Tarn-et-Garonne department and see the magnificent abbey at Moissac.
To the southeast of the department, along the gorges de l’Aveyron, there are some lovely slate-roofed houses to admire in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
ess than an hour from us, hanging on to a cliff face overlooking the Alzou gorges, the medieval village of Rocamadour, a pilgrim destination since the 12th century, is wonderful..
Further north, take a walk in Martel, the town of seven towers, then in Carennac for its beautiful cloister. Then drive on to the tiny village of Autoire on the Gramat plateau, and its cirque and waterfall, then, 5km further on, admire the lovely village of Loubressac perched high up on the hillside. Then it’s only one and a quarter hours back to here.
take a trip to Sarlat-La-Canéda, visit the castle in
Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and its rival the fortress in Beynac,
taking in La Roque-Gageac and its houses built into the rock.
A full day’s programme from the Domaine de Labarthe.
Cordes-sur-Ciel, Albi, the walled city of Carcassonne and the Millau viaduct 200 km from Cahors.
The Ossip Zadkine museum in Les Arques, and then have lunch in the excellent restaurant La Récréation, half an hour from the Domaine along lovely country roads.
The Henri Martin museum in Cahors, with a collection of remarkable impressionist works by this painter from Toulouse, who loved the area. Currently closed for restoration.
50 minutes by motorway to the centre of Montauban – 70 km – currently closed for renovation.
Musée Champollion, Figeac: see how writing made its appearance in the world 5,300 years ago – an hour’s drive from the Domaine de Labarthe
And for enthusiasts, the Soulages museum in Rodez, 2 hours from here, to see the works of the great Pierre Soulages.
The guest rooms at Labarthe overlook the grounds, offering abundant natural light and perfectly quiet surroundings – if anything wakes you it will be the gentle sound of birdsong. The old thick walls of Quercy stone keep the rooms peaceful and cool in summer. All the rooms, three of which are on the ground floor, have been recently renovated and each has its own toilet and bathroom. They feature antique furniture, soft colours and contemporary details, to give an overall feeling of comfort and sophistication.
The bedding is excellent, and beds are made in the traditional manner with fine cotton sheets and light or thick woollen blankets depending on the season.
New for summer 2023: all our rooms will be air-conditioned.
Some of the original 17th century estate’s outbuildings have survived the years: once used for farming and wine production, these have now been restored and transformed into comfortable, independent gites.
They can be rented for a few days or by the week.