The department Lot, in the southwest of France, borders the Corrèze in the north, the Cantal in the northeast, the Aveyron in the southeast, Tarnet-Garonne in the south, the Dordogne in the northwest and Lot-et-Garonne in the southwest. The rivers Dordogne, Lot (with numerous tributaries as the Cele, Vers and Vert) are floating criss-cross through the area.
The Bouraine, as a varied, hilly and wooded landscape, is also known for its gastronomy and the friendly residents. Idyllic places such as Domme, Sarlat, Cahors and Rocamadour are in the vicinity.
Bouraine comes from ‘‘Bourie’’, a term that was used to describe a multitude of small farms in the area. A beautiful example of a “bourie” is at the forest edge on our terrain. Although it isn't wholly intact, it is worthwhile to be restored.
Cazals is located 3 km away from ‘Retour a la Source’. Many local residents visit the market in Cazals every Sunday morning. It is also often visited by lots of tourists especially in the summer. People here say you better be there before 10:00 because then you can still hear French. After 10:00, it’s a mixture of Dutch, French and English. The French have the habit to have a drink at the local café after they did their purchases at the market.
Cahors is located less than 45 minutes by car from ‘Retour à la Source’ and is a nice city to go shopping to. It has about 20.000 residents and is located in a loop of the Lot river. This old capital of Quercy played an important role in the Middle Ages because of its brisk trade and the university. Besides the imposing Pont Valentre with its three fortress towers, 40 meters high each, Cahors also has more beautiful old buildings. Places of interest are: VieilleVille, the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne and the Musée Henri-Martin.
In Assier one can find the remains of the Chateau d’Assier. It was built by the warrior Jacques Galiot de Genouillac. From the castle, completed in 1535, only the access wing still remains, together with its nice porch. The most beautiful part of the interior is the decorated stairs. The church, which is built between 1540 and 1550 is still completely intact. Around the church there is a frieze of almost 100 meters (see picture). This continuous sculpture features cavalry, infantry and gunners. The tomb of this warrior is decorated by a sculpture lying in courtly clothes on a marble sarcophagu. At night you can watch a wonderful starry sky in Assier. That’s because the place lies in the region with the darkest skies of Europe.
Pigeon lovers can visit the 16th century dovecote from Jaques Galiot. The dovecote lies in the north of Assier beside the road between Lacapelle and Marival. Eleven meters high building consists of 2300 separate nest chambers. The birds are flying in and out through the dome light on the roof.
The castle lies in the village Prudhomat, 3 kilometers away from Bretenoux. This castle was built in the 12th century by the barons of Castelnau around the massive keep (a strong central tower which is used as a dungeon or a fortress). You have a wonderful view of the area from its walls. With its gigantic defense system the triangular Chateau-Bretenoux is one of the best examples of the medieval military architecture. The tour takes about two hours.
Figeac lies beside the river Cele and also next to the pilgrimage route from Conques. The city still has beautiful old parts, despite devastation during religious wars. The Hôtel de la Monnaie from the 13th century is a marvellous gothic building. The archaeologist Jean Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs of the Rosetta Stone (see picture) was born in Figeac two centuries ago. In the former house of the Egyptologist there is now a museum, dedicated to his life and work. Lots of buildings in Figeac are worth a visit. Due to the flourishing trade around the abbey that increased prosperity, a lot of people were able to build a grand house.
www.ville-figeac.fr and www.tourisme-figeac.com.
In the medieval village Gourdon you can find a defense gate from the 13th century and a few pretty houses. The town has many churches from various time periods. There are also some interesting streets, such as Rue ZigZag and Rue du Majou.
Grottes de Gougnac
About 3 kilometers to the north of Gourdon, in Dordogne, there lie Grottes de Gougnas, one of the most beautiful series of caves with prehistoric murals. The caves consist of a large network of galleries. There are two caves that are 200 meters apart from each other. The most important cave has been blocked for a long time, just like Grotte de Lascaux and Grotte de Pech-Merle. Because of this fact, the discovered murals are still in good condition.