Looking for fresh air and nature? Still unknown in France, the department of Lot in the Occitanie region, home to the Regional Natural Park of Causses du Quercy, is full of beautiful surprises. It can satisfy your desires of escape, change of scenery and discovery! So, what to see in the Lot ? Between preserved medieval cities, astonishing caves and exceptional natural sites, the department knows how to answer all your travel desires. By bike, on foot, by train, by car: you have 1001 ways to explore it! Here is an overview of the Lot's must-see places to organize your stay.
Which villages to visit in the Lot ?
Cahors is more than a village, it is the prefecture of the department of the Lot! But it is above all a pretty city which is worth the detour and which constitutes a good starting point for your stay.
Don't miss to discover :
- The Valentré Bridge which spans the river Lot since the Middle Ages. Entirely pedestrian, it is crossed by the most famous section of the roads to Santiago de Compostela;
- The cathedral of Saint-Etienne. This imposing religious building is distinguished by its nave with 2 domes.
By bus, car or bicycle, follow the banks of the Lot from Cahors and head for Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. In this medieval village, time seems to have stopped a long time ago! Stroll through the small cobbled streets between the centuries-old buildings and let yourself be carried away by a pleasant journey through time.
Continue along the Lot river before going slightly north: head for Figeac! You come here for the breathtaking view of the Lot valley but you stay here to discover its perfectly preserved medieval historic center.
Further north in the department, don't miss Autoire. Here too, time seems to stand still in the small paved streets lined with stone houses and surrounded by elegant castles.
Nestled in a natural cirque that is ideal for hiking, the village is the starting point for beautiful walks. Don't forget your walking shoes!
Your journey north ends in Carennac on the banks of the Dordogne. 400 souls live in this charming village and stroll along its cobbled streets that are reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Take a pleasant walk along the Dordogne to complete your visit.
It is already time to head south, towards Rocamadour. The village is accessible by train from Figeac.
Overlooking the Alzou canyon and perched on an impressive rock at more than 120 meters high, Rocamadour is worth a visit! The houses seem to melt into the cliff and the nature is one with the village.
Don't miss the Saint-Sauveur Church and the Saint-Amadour crypt, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Which caves to visit in the Quercy ?
Between Autoire and Carennac, visit the impressive Gouffre de Padirac. This hole is 103 meters deep and 35 meters in diameter and is accessible by an elevator.
Once in the bowels of the earth, you will discover the chasm on a boat with a guide. Learn how this amazing natural site was formed. Admire its wonders shaped by Mother Nature over the millennia such as the giant 60 meter stalactite or the impressive Grand Dome room.
Beware: the chasm attracts a lot of people in the summer in high season. Book your tickets in advance and prefer visits out of season.
Caves of Lacave
Not far from Rocamadour, the Caves of Lacave take you on an exploration in several galleries, to discover superb concretions.
The small unusual detail: the caves are accessible by electric train from the village of Lacave!
Cave of Pech Merle
During your visit to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, leave the Lot valley temporarily for the Célé valley, towards the Pech Merle cave.
It's a different atmosphere than the one in Padirac that awaits you in this prehistoric cave. 7 fascinating rooms to discover the way of life of our ancestors are to be discovered.
Attention, in July and August, the number of visitors is limited. Remember to book your places in advance.
What to see in the Lot ?
Observation of the starry sky
The Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy covers a large part of the surface of the department and offers a zone free of light pollution and favourable to astronomical observation: the black triangle of Quercy! Nestled between Rocamadour and the Célé valley, this exceptional site promises you beautiful magical evenings.
Discover the Célé valley
Less known than the Lot or Dordogne valleys, it is a nice way to explore the department in a different way, away from the crowds.
Amazing troglodyte houses and pretty villages dot the banks of the Célé. To admire them at your leisure and marvel at the impressive cliffs that frame the river, there is nothing better than a canoe trip!
Hiking in the Regional Natural Park of Causses du Quercy
The natural park is also classified as a Geopark. This means that the natural sites are of significant geological importance and actively preserved. Enjoy them with respect during your visit and try to limit your impact. Here are 3 hiking ideas to extend your visits beyond the pretty villages of the department.
The Alzou Gorges at Rocamadour
- Distance: 12.6 km
- Positive elevation gain: 330 meters
- Difficulty: medium
- Duration: 3 h 30
This itinerary of the Alzou Gorges takes you through a dense forest at the bottom of a canyon. It is an ideal hike to find coolness on a hot and sunny day. You will see the Moulin du Saut, an old stone mill.
Along the Lot between Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Bouziès
- Distance : 8,7 km
- Positive altitude difference : 340 meters
- Difficulty : medium
- Duration : 3 h
During this itinerary along the Lot, you will walk along the river before returning by the heights. Take time to admire the Roque de Bouziès, an ancient troglodyte fortification.
Circuit of the Mont Saint Cyr from Cahors
- Distance : 5,8 km
- Difficulty : Easy
- Duration : 1 h 45
The Mont Saint Cyr circuit makes you climb over Cahors. As a reward for your efforts, enjoy the breathtaking view of the Lot valley and the city.
Read also: discover all our ideas of ecological activities for your vacations.
Organize an ecological stay in the Lot
What if, in order to have a fully ecological stay in the Lot, you left your car in the garage? You may not be able to discover all the sites mentioned above but it is a great way to travel differently. You will also have a good excuse to come back and discover this beautiful department!
The Lot by bike
The Véloroute de la Vallée du Lot is not limited to the borders of the department! There are more than 500 km of cycle tracks waiting for you between Aiguillon and La Canourgue near the river to discover the villages with the strength of your legs.
You will cross Cahors and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie along the way!
For more cycling inspirations, discover 6 of the most beautiful cycling trips around the world.
The Lot on foot
Put on your walking shoes and set off on the road to Santiago de Compostela along the Voie du Puy from Figeac to Cahors.
Count on a short week of walking to link the 2 cities. We advise you to take the alternative route through the Célé valley to discover the heart of the Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy.
On the program: visits of Figeac, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Cahors, beautiful landscapes and maybe even splendid starry nights!
Read also: discover 3 steps to prepare your trek.
The Lot without a car
The department offers a 6-stage itinerary to visit the most beautiful villages of the Lot without a car, using trains and buses. This will give you great ideas for a low-carbon getaway!
If you choose to come to the Lot by car, discover 6 steps to prepare an eco responsible road trip.
Where to stay around the Lot ?
Choose ecological accommodations during your stay in the Lot thanks to Ethik&Trips. Located in the department or in its immediate vicinity, these accommodations are waiting for you !
Youth hostel in Cahors
In a modern building near the train station, the youth hostel Cahors - Le Chai combines comfort and design. The icing on the cake: the splendid view of the Valentré Bridge from the roof terrace!
Le Perchoir du Quercy
Located in Montcuq, 30 km from Cahors, discover the Perchoir du Quercy. This warm ecological house made of wooden logs can accommodate up to 8 people. It is therefore perfect for a large family or a group of friends.
The outside invites you to relax with a panoramic view of the surroundings, an exceptional natural setting and a Nordic bath just for you!
Book your vacations in the Lot at the Perchoir du Quercy.
Pella Roca is located in the Tarn-et-Garonne, but only a few kilometers from the Lot department and the Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Cahors are about 30 kilometers away.
4 perched cabins with Nordic bath, sauna and a breathtaking view of the Quercy hillsides await you. It is the ideal accommodation for a romantic stay for couples, with nature as a backdrop.
Book your unusual getaway at Pella Roca.
Le Hameau du Sentier des Sources
To visit the north of the Lot and the banks of the Dordogne, stay at the Hameau du Sentier des Sources. It is located 35 km from Lacave and 4 km from Sarlat, a charming medieval village.
Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of an old Southwestern hamlet by staying in one of the 8 stone houses, each with its own unique atmosphere. Discover a welcoming village of tourism on a human scale, ideal for a stay between the Périgord Noir, the Lot and the Dordogne.
Book your vacations at the Hameau du Sentier des Sources.
What to do and what to see in the Lot ? Now you have the answer! Are you tempted by a vacation in this beautiful department?