During a planning session for
our summer trips we chose
Cahors in the department of
the Lot in Southwest France.
It's a UNESCO site and sounded
really interesting. We
researched and reserved our
visit in June as it is a popular
destination for tourists
particularly in the summer.
We spent two nights at a nice
little hotel (pretty much the
only one) in Cahors. We
wandered thru the narrow
cobblestone streets of the old
town, visited the famous Pont
Valentre and hiked to the top
of the hill that overlooks the
Lot river as it makes a
sweeping U around the village.
We had some super meals and
partook in all the local
specialties such as foie gras,
magret de canard, cassoulet de
canard, canard this, canard
that, and then again some
other form of canard... I think you can get the idea there
was a lot of DUCK! Joe said he might start quacking if we
stayed much longer.
Saturday morning, our last day in Cahors, Lisa got up
early so she could go to the market in the square. The
Saturday market had been written up as one of the real
highlight not to miss. It was somewhat of a cool hazy
morning and she was not disappointed by the beauty of
the effect of the light upon the flower and vegetable
sellers stands as she entered the plaza. It was filled with
color and buzzing with activity. She bought a massive bag
of fresh Herbs de Provence and will think of the market
each time she sprinkles the herb in her cooking .
We picked up a rental car Saturday morning and headed
outside of Cahors. In preparing for our visit we discovered
that the region of Cahors produced some very good wines.
We started selecting Cahors wines at the stores and really
like it. It's a Bordeaux of sorts but much smoother and a
little richer as it's made with the Malbeac grape. We
headed off to visit some vineyards in our little Peugeot
107. We arrived at a vineyard just outside of Puy L'Eveque
shortly after noontime. Ouf, we'd forgotten about the two
hour lunch closures.
We were sitting in the car trying to decide how to kill
almost 2 hours when this man came up to our car asking if
it was possible to come back at 14:00 when they
reopened. As we chatted he picked up the fact that we
were Americans and immediately launched in to how he
loved traveling to the U.S. and all of his sales visits and
wine clubs that he had participated in. But the best part
was when he pulled out his iPhone and started scrolling
thru all his photos of America and sharing them with us as
he leaned through the car window. He suggested a place
to eat in Puy L'Eveque (that was excellent) and he was off.
Joe turned to me when he left and said "that was the
owner!" as he pointed enthusiastically to the mans photo
in our wine route booklet that we picked up at the Tourist
Office. We returned after lunch and had a wonderful
degustation and purchased a few bottles of a 2003 vintage
that we particularly liked.
Note about 2003: this was the year of the great canicule in
France, hence the gangbuster of a vintage for pretty much
all producers. There are hardly any affordable 2003
vintages left to be had so we were especially pleased to
have been able to get it.
We had reserved two nights at a Hotel at Saint Cirq
Actually, the hotel was directly across the Lot river from
the town, affording us a spectacular view of the village of
Sunday we drove to these caves that date back to 786
where they have discovered prehistoric cave drawings
called Peche Merle. Our guide told us that out of the
couple thousand caves around Europe that they have
discovered only about 20 are open to the public and this is
one of them. It's highly protected from damage from the
environment and thus they limit the number of visitors to
700 per day in groups of 25. You can call to reserve in
advance to avoid being disappointed. When you reserve
you are given an exact departure time and group number
and if you don't show up 15 minutes before they have the
right to cancel your reservation and give your place to
someone else. To supplement the visit there is a film and
a very good museum.