About The Area
Castelnau-Montratier Local Attractions

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The Region

The property is situated about thirty kms south of the wonderful, historic city of Cahors, the regional capital.  Full of tragedy, triumph and romance, you can climb the Tour de St Jean – the tower of Cahors own home-grown Pope, John XXII.  Visit the lovely gothic cathedral and of course cross the magnificent Pont Valentre, the 14th century bridge that caractarises the town.  Beware of the devil that still clings to the central tower!

Although the department is now called the Lot, it forms the northern half of the ancient province of Quercy and the area immediately surrounding Castelnau Montatier is the celebrated Quercy Blanc.  It was named for the white stone from which all the buildings were constructed, never ending dry-stone walls were built and that can be seen strewn everywhere in the fields - despite farmers constant efforts to evacuate it.

This is an area steeped in history and legend, a medieval battleground punctuated by fairytale castles - testament to the spoils of war.  And through this sometimes violent, always enchanting landscape, winds a world famous pilgrim trail.  The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, over a thousand years old and more popular than ever.
There are several little towns and villages nearby worthy of a visit, day out or perhaps a leisurely dinner.

  • Lauzerte is a preserved medieval bastide village with a wonderful central place, lined with cafes.  Try the Hotel du Quercy
  • Montcuq is a lively medieval market town with a thriving centre and a very good Sunday market.  Try the Cafe de France
  • Montpezat de Quercy is a delightful little town with enough history attached to satisfy even the most curious.
  • Caussade is a fairly large town for all needs.
  • Cahors is the lovely capital city and boasts all facilities and some wonderful restaurants.  Try the boat restaurant, Le fils au Douceurs, moored on the banks of the Lot, or the Chateau de Mercues, looming over the city or any of a dozen little places hidden in the winding medieval streets. 

Local Activities

  • Golf - there is an excellent and challenging 9 hole course a mere three kms from the property.  It has its own restaurant, tennis court and swimming pool.
  • Tennis - 5 kms
  • Fishing - 2kms (by arrangement)
  • Horse Riding - 5 kms
  • Plan d’Eaux – A choice of two delightful purpose built bathing lakes each with a beach and restaurant, at Montcuq and Montaigu de Quercy
  • Canoeing - choice of many locations within 20kms
  • Adventure Park - with challenging outdoor activities for energetic children and less challenging but equally exciting activity for 3 - 6 year olds.
  • Garden Enthusiasts - Cahors has no less than 29 “Secret Gardens”, each small but authentic.  The first of these, the Garden of Inebriation, is alongside the Pont Valentre.  Organised tours throughout the summer available through Cahors Tourist Information office in town centre.
  • Walking - there are many walks in unspoilt countryside and if you’re feeling really energetic you can join the Santiago trail and meet a few of the pilgrims that constantly pass through.
  • Wine Tasting - Cahors and the Lot valley are famous for Black Wine.  The true AOC Cahors wine region is quite small, it extends westwards from the city along the valley of the Lot for about forty kms and all along the banks you will see terraces of these famous vines.  The black wine, as it has been known for centuries, has been grown here for two thousand years, making it one of the oldest known wines of France.  Most Chateaux and producers offer wine tasting and direct sales, with signs at the entrance to the properties.  Details of “wine routes” can be found at the Cahors Tourist Office on the central place.

Places to Visit

A list of places worth visiting in this region would be endless, but here are a few suggestions.

  • Cahors with its many fine restaurants and excellent market produce every Wednesday and Saturday is an easy drive and a must for any visitor. 
  • Toulouse is the vibrant capital city of the Midi Pyrenees region and the place to go for serious shoppers or just to visit the wonderful museums and soak up the unique atmosphere.  Make sure you visit the Place du Capitol.
  • Lalbenque is a small unassuming village hard by the autoroute, but it holds a secret.  It is the centre of the truffle industry and every Tuesday in winter holds the largest truffle market in the south.  If you’re here between October and March, you must try it – it’s an experience!
  • Rocamadour is a wonderful day out.  It is situated about an hour and half to the north east, but it is well worth the drive.  The first sight of this city/shrine, literally built out of a sheer rock is quite unforgettable.
  • Caves de Pech Merle.   Take a trip back to the paleolithic period in these wonderful grottos.  The whole of the Lot valley, and indeed much of the surrounding area is riddled with some of the earliest evidence of human habitation in Europe.