Castelnau-Magnoac > Cahors
07/22/2022 - Stage 19 - 188,5 km - Flat
On the road
Departments : Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Hérault, Lot, Lozère, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne
Population: 5.9 million
Area: 72,724 km2
Specialities: foie gras, cassoulet, aligot, tielle sétoise, brandade de morue (cod brandade), haricots tarbais (beans), garbure (soup), sweet onion, Céret cherries, wines (Pic Saint-Loup, Corbières, Cahors, Costières de Nîmes, blanquette of Limoux, Minervois, Tavel, Madiran). Perrier spring water.
Sports clubs: Stade Toulousain, Castres Olympique, Montpellier HR, USAP Perpignan (rugby union), Montpellier HSC, Nîmes Olympique, Toulouse FC (football), Dragons Catalans (rugby league), Montpellier Handball, Fenix Toulouse, USAM Nîmes-Gard (handball)
Competitions: Tour de France, Open Sud de France (tennis), Route d'Occitanie (cycling).
Economy: aeronautics and space (Airbus, Ariane, Toulouse), defence, information technology, nuclear, agri-food, agriculture (wines, cereals) tourism, pharmaceutical industry. Universities (Montpellier, Toulouse).
Festivals: Nîmes and Béziers férias, Rio Loco (Toulouse), Radio France Festival Montpellier (classical music), Comédie du Livre (book fair, Montpellier), Electro Beach (Port Barcarès), Jazz in Marciac, Cinémed (Montpellier), Circa Auch, Noir Novel Fesrtival Frontignan.
Sights: Cité de Carcassonne, basilica of Lourdes, Toulouse (Capitole, Saint-Sernin, ville rose), Montpellier (place de la Comédie, Écusson), beaches, Pont du Gard, Nîmes ampthitheatre, Cathar castles, Canal du Midi, cathedrals of Albi, Castres and Rodez. Millau Viaduct, Niaux and Maz d'Azil caves. Valentré Bridge in Cahors. Villages of character. Beaches in the Aude, Gard and Hérault. Ski resorts in the Pyrenees and Ariège.
Surface area: 6,256.8 km².
Number of municipalities: 461
Prefecture: Auch (22,200)
Sub-prefectures: Condom and Mirande
Specialities: goose and duck foie gras, duck breast, duck confit, Armagnac, Lectoure melon, Lomagne white garlic, black garlic, apple crumble, Floc de Gascogne, Gers chicken, Gascony black pork, Gers garbure, Gascony beef, Lou Bethet veal, Mirandaise cow, Côtes de Gascogne, Saint-Mont and Madiran wines...
Sport: the RCA, an emblematic rugby club (Auch-Gers) from which Antoine Dupont, the best rugby player in the world, and Anthony Jelonch, captain of the French rugby team in 2021, as well as many international players, have emerged. Four sportsmen and women from Gers took part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Simon Gauzy (French number 1 in table tennis, multiple French and European champion), Valérie Garnier (coach of the French women's basketball team), Christophe Salegui (French wheelchair rugby team), Ahmed Andaloussi (para triathlete). Circuit Automobile Paul Armagnac in Nogaro which organises numerous national events (Coupe de France des Circuits, Coupes de Pâques...)
Economy: agriculture (1st organic department in France), tourism, food processing, aeronautics, crafts.
Heritage: Gers is crossed by two routes to Santiago de Compostela, allowing visitors to discover three remarkable architectural sites listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Sainte-Marie d'Auch Cathedral, Lartigue Bridge and Collegiate Church of La Romieu. Castle of d'Artagnan. Flaran Abbey.
Culture and festivals: European Bandas Festival: the largest European gathering of brass and percussion instruments in Condom, Feria del Toro in Vic-Fezensac, Tempo Latino: 1st European Afro-Cuban Festival in Vic-Fezensac, Jazz In Marciac, hosting the greatest international jazz artists, Astronomy Festival in Fleurance, CircA and Independence and Creation Festival in Auch... Flaran Abbey, a departmental heritage conservation centre which manages the cultural development of the network of 10 sites and Museums of France in Gers.
Departmental websites and social networks:
Department of Gers :
Facebook : @LeGers32
Twitter : @LeGers32
Chélan (Pop: 170)
St. Gemma's Church
Foundation: built in the 15th century.
Characteristics: the gable wall, the sturdy buttresses and the square-based belltower with an octagonal spire give the church an original appearance. It was lowered in 1870. The building materials were found on site: pebbles, local stone, slate roof.
Trivia: the church is part of the Route des Peintures Murales et Sculptures en Astarac.
Creation: created in the 20th century.
Area: 180 hectares.
Situation: built in 1976 to facilitate irrigation abstraction.
The lake is of great ornithological interest as a staging area or wintering ground for many bird species. Various species of herons (grey heron, cattle egret, black-crowned night heron) have set up their nests in one of the tails of the lake. It is also home to a large number of amphibians (including the Natterjack Toad).
Masseube (Pop: 1,500)
In the village, there are beautiful half-timbered houses, one of which is a listed building.
In 2018, Masseube hosted the finish of a stage of the Route du Sud won by Clément Venturini.
La Salle-Saint-Christophe Campus
Area: 7 hectares.
Location: private school with 550 students of 34 different nationalities
Ornézan (Pop: 230)
St. Catherine's Church
Foundation: built around the 13th century.
Style: late Gothic.
History: formerly Saint-Jean, the change of name can be linked to the devotion to the holy "voice" shown in Gascony by the Armagnacs, companions of Joan of Arc.
Features: A square bell tower built of mullion precedes the nave. It has rectangular openings on three sides. The spire is covered with slates.
In Faget-Abatial (9 km away)
Foundation: built in the 12th century.
History: former abbey church of the Faget monastery, with a typical Gers Romanesque chevet. It is a semi-circular chevet, probably vaulted in the past, with a buttress in its central axis pierced by an arched bay. To the west, the church was later completed by a porch bell tower from the 13th century.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1947.
In Durban (5 km away)
Location: 270m above sea level.
Foundation: rebuilt in 2008.
History: with a fixed stone body and a wooden roof that rotates 360°C, it was built by local craftsmen with local materials that were used in the past.
Orbessan (Pop: 300)
Foundation: built in the 17th century.
Features: the castle comprises a large main building flanked on the east and west by two square pavilions. Wooden ceilings painted in tempera. Fountain, fireplaces and woodwork in the Louis XV style, from the end of the 17th century.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1942.
Auch (Pop: 22,200)
The prefecture of Gers is also the historic capital of Gascony and is listed as a major site in Occitania.
Already very important in Gallo-Roman times, the city of Auch was once one of the largest urban centres in Aquitaine. Capital of the Counts of Armagnac in medieval times, it joined the French crown at the end of the15th century. It experienced another golden age between the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly under Louis XV who built many buildings on the site.
A rugby union stronghold, it is the birthplace of former captain and coach of the French national team, Jacques Fouroux, as well as international players Yannick Bru, Stéphane Graou and Frédéric Torossian.
In terms of cycling, Auch is the birthplace of the late Nicolas Portal, former sports director of the Ineos team, who died in 2020, but also of Raymond Mastrotto, who also died on his bike at the age of 49: he had taken part in eight Tours de France and finished sixth in 1960. Auch hosted the Tour three times in a row in 1975, 1976 and 1977. On the first visit, Eddy Merckx won a time trial from nearby Fleurance. He didn't know it yet, but it was his 34e and last stage victory in the race.
Museum of the Americas
Foundation: established in 1793 in a building dating from the 15th century.
History: Originally, it presented collections of art objects from revolutionary seizures. It has an exceptional collection of pre-Columbian art (the second largest in France), as well as objects dedicated to Egyptian art, local artists, and Latin American sacred art.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1976.
St. Mary's Cathedral
Foundation: built between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Style: flamboyant gothic and neo-renaissance.
History: begun in July 1489, at the instigation of Francis of Savoy, on the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Austinde. It is one of the largest cathedrals in France, measuring over 100-metres long and 35-metres wide.
Features: inside, remarkable for a series of eighteen stained-glass windows, the work of Arnaud de Moles, and for the woodwork in the choir, including the 113 stalls, by unknown authors, which continue the series of biblical scenes begun on the windows.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1906 / Unesco World Heritage Site as part of the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela in France (1998).
Preignan (Pop: 1,250)
Foundation: built in the 18th century.
History: aristocratic residence built at the end of the 18th century, Château de La Testère is known for having welcomed several Italian families from the 1920s onwards.
Sainte-Christie (Pop: 550)
In Lavardens (11 km away)
Foundation: built in the 17th century (1620).
History: fief of the Counts of Armagnac (12th century), Château de Lavardens was rebuilt in the 17th century by Antoine de Roquelaure, companion and friend of Henri IV, for the love of his life, Suzanne de Bassabat. After the revolution, it was sold to 12 families and the lack of co-ownership gradually led to the ruin of the building.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1961.
Saint Michael's Church
Foundation: built as early as the 15th century.
Features: In the 1950s, a Dutch priest created a mosaic decoration on the tympanum of the portal, the font and the baptismal font.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1960.
Fleurance (Pop: 5,950)
Remarkable for its 19th century neo-classical town hall. The Fleurance Astronomy Festival, considered to be the most important in France in this field, is organised every year in the first ten days of August and attracts more than twenty thousand participants.
Fleurance is also a hotspot of the Tour de France, as the small town hosted the race seven times between 1973 and 1983, including twice for the prologue of the race, in 1977 (Dietrich Thurau) and in 1979 (Gerrie Knetemann).
St. Laurent Church
Foundation: built from the 14th to the 16th century.
Style: Southern Gothic.
Characteristics: the church was built in three phases from the 14th to the 16th century. The stained-glass windows dating from the 16th century have been listed as historical monuments since 1862.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1907.
In Lectoure (11 km away)
Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais Cathedral
Foundation: built from the 12th to the 18th centuries.
Style: Gothic/Southern Gothic.
History: rebuilt after the siege of 1473 (belltower-keep), then after the Wars of Religion in the mid-1600s, until the 18th century.
Features: façade, nave and belltower were destroyed in 1473. The new bell tower rises to 45 metres. The interior houses a museum of sacred art with liturgical objects, reliquaries, religious images, burials and chasubles.
Current use: since 1801, the cathedral has been the parish church of Saint-Gervais and Saint-Protais.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1912.
Saint-Clar (Pop: 1,000)
Saint Clair Church
Foundation: built in the 19th century (1857-1862).
Characteristics: the particularity of this church is its inverted orientation. Indeed, contrary to the principle that marks most churches in France, it is not oriented west-east but east-west, the main entrance being therefore to the east.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1907.
Saint-Créac (Pop: 80)
Its small church, Saint-Loup (12th century), has been a listed building since 1995 and contains a monumental 15th century painting which is also a listed building.
At 4 km:
Foundation: erected from the 13th century.
History: the de Montaut family built this fortified castle on a fief received from Simon de Montfort, leader of the crusade against the Albigensians. The building, redesigned in the 14th century, was extended with a Renaissance dwelling, a portal in the 17th century and terraced gardens.
Characteristics: only the Simon de Montfort tower remains of the old castle. Belongs to the national monument centres.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1973.
Prefecture : Montauban
Subprefectures : Castelsarrasin
Area: 3718 km2
Specialities: Fruit (Chasselas de Moissac PDO, Reine Claude red label, Moissac cherry, Lomagne chestnut, Laguépie chestnut); Caussade black chicken; Quercy black truffle and saffron; Quercy lamb; Lomagne white garlic PGI; Quercy melon PGI; duck and goose foie gras, wines (Fronton PDO, Coteaux du Quercy, Saint-Sardos, Brulhois...)
Sports clubs : Union sportive montalbanaise USM (rugby, Pro D2), Avenir valencien (rugby, Fédérale 1), Cercle athlétique castelsarrasinois (Cycling), Montauban Natation 82 (8th French club), Montauban athlétisme (Nationale 2)
Sports events: Montauban Marathon; annual USM rugby matches; French men's and women's triplet petanque championships...
Festivals: Voix des Lieux et des Mondes Festival (Moissac, June); Montauban en scènes (July); Estivales du Chapeau (Caussade, July); Garlic Fair (Beaumont de Lomagne, July); Festival des Châteaux (Bruniquel, August); Nuits de Lauzerte (August); Médiévales de Belleperche (September); Gastronomy Fair (Moissac, September)
Economy: Agriculture (South-West orchards, organic farming, cattle breeding, poultry farming)
Websites / FB / Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/departement.tarnetgaronne / https://twitter.com/tarnetgaronneCG / http://www.ledepartement.fr / https://www.facebook.com/tourismetarnetgaronne/ / https://twitter.com/CarolineManens / https://plus.google.com/102721895094546216400/posts / https://www.instagram.com/tourisme_tarn_et_garonne/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/ADTTarnetGaronne / http://www.tourisme-tarnetgaronne.fr/
Marsac (Pop: 200)
Foundation: built as early as the 12th century.
History: originally the seat of a lordship belonging to Sans Garcié de Manas, the lord of Preissac and the Montesquiou, English barons, in 1277.
Characteristics: its square tower, the oldest in the Tarn-et-Garonne region (12th and 13th centuries) and its Renaissance façade make it a unique architectural object.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1995.
Poupas (Pop: 90)
St. Christopher's Church
Foundation: built in the 15th century.
Characteristics: the construction of the belltower-wall began in the second half of the 15th century. The south chapel, now the sacristy, was built in the 18th century. A north chapel was destroyed in 1902.
Foundation: built in the 17th century.
History: the castle of Poupas, now destroyed, belonged to the Viscounts of Lomagne since 1306. Nowadays, only a few ruins of this building remain. The current residence was built in the 17th century for the d'Arbieu family. The building was reported to be in ruins in the 19th century and was partially rebuilt around 1860 with the addition of a wing to the west.
Lachapelle (Pop: 120)
St. Peter's Church
Foundation: built in the 13th century.
History: the church of Saint-Pierre had to be rebuilt or modified in the second half of the 15th century to make it the parish church. The church was sold as a national asset during the French Revolution and was returned to worship after the Concordat of 1801. It was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries with the restoration of the original ceiling.
Characteristics: the baroque-style interior was built in 1776 by Maraignon Champaigne, a cabinetmaker from Lectoure.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1975.
Bardigues (Pop: 260)
Foundation: built in the 13th century.
History: The castle was bought by the family in 1315 and was remodelled under Louis XV. The interiors of the castle offer a very refined décor composed of panelling and gypseries from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as marble fireplaces, wallpaper, terracotta tiles and painted door tops.
Characteristics: the castle consists of a central building, a vast main courtyard, outbuildings and a vast park.
Current destination: the estate is run by Paul-Alexandre and Caroline De Boisséson, who have turned it into a showcase for the region's know-how through temporary and permanent exhibitions and a shop selling local products.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1975.
Overlooking the Garonne valley, Auvillar, a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, has the particularity of being listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Auvillar was one of the largest earthenware centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Old Auvillar Museum exhibits nearly 500 pieces of Auvillar earthenware, including some exceptional pieces.
It was in Auvillar that Serge Lapébie, son of Guy, 1936 Olympic road champion, and nephew of Roger, winner of the 1937 Tour de France, was killed in a road accident in 1991.
Auvillar grain hall
Foundation: built in the 19th century (1824).
History: built in 1824, replacing an older hall.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1946.
St. Peter's Church
Foundation: built in the middle of the 12th century.
History: contemporary with the Viscounts of Auvillar, the 12th century chapel at the back of the building on the left-hand side is the oldest part of the building.
Characteristics: it was enlarged in the 14th century with the establishment of a Benedictine priory. The destruction caused by the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion required restoration work in the 15th century (heart and right-hand chapel) and in the 17th (nave).
Listing: Historical Monument since 1862.
Valence d'Agen (Pop: 5,200)
The town was founded in 1283 by King Edward I of England. However, unlike other bastides (new towns) built before or during the Hundred Years' War, it does not dominate a plain or a valley, but its historic heart has always been close to the course of the Garonne, which crosses its territory to the south, and the Barguelonne, to the north.
It is the birthplace of film director André Téchiné.
The town has twice hosted the Tour de France, in 1978 and in 1982 for a time trial won by Gerrie Knetemann.
Church of Our Lady
Foundation: built in the 20th century (1902).
History: the old church, situated on a rampart, had become cramped and weakened.
Characteristics: inside, a beautiful gilded Virgin and Child, a ceramic Stations of the Cross, and the bench of the churchwardens, the laymen who used to manage the finances of the parish (before 1905).
Goudourville (Pop: 940)
Saint-Julien-de-Brioude Church in Goudourville
Construction: 15th century
Characteristics: it is known in the region as the "Sistine Chapel of Tarn-et-Garonne" for its vaults illustrating the creation of the world by God in the form of two ceiling paintings signed by Jean Georges Maury, representing the resurrection of Lazarus and the burial. From the outside, the building is relatively sober. The bell tower, marked by five bell arches, was entirely repaired in the 19th century with reused materials.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1927
Construction: 12th and 13th century
History: the castle of Goudourville was built by Hugues de Gasques on a former monastery belonging to the abbey of Bonneval. In 1211, Simon de Montfort besieged the castle in vain. It was besieged several times and fell during the Fronde against Louis XIV when it was ransacked to the point of ruin.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1974.
Lauzerte (Pop: 1,500)
Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the perched village of Lauzerte overlooks the valleys and hills of the Quercy Blanc. Known as the Toledo of Quercy, this medieval bastide, founded in 1241 by the Count of Toulouse, has a superb cornered square at its heart, surrounded by old stone and timber-framed houses.
Place des Cornières
Location: lined with semi-circular arcades, in the shape of baskets on three of its sides and houses dating from the 15th century. In the 18th century, the square had a corner house which gave it the name of Cornière.
Saint Bartholomew's Church
Foundation: built from the 13th century.
History: shortly after the foundation of Lauzerte in 1241, a church was built near the market hall. It was only the first bay of the present church and became a parish church after the destruction of Notre-Dame des Vaux in the 16th century.
Characteristics: the façade was built in 1815. The bell tower is rectangular. The upper part was rebuilt in the 17th century.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1976.
Area: 5,217 km² (5,217 sq mi)
Number of municipalities: 313 municipalities
Prefecture: Cahors (21 000 inhabitants)
Sub-prefectures: Figeac and Gourdon
Specialities: many local products are registered under an official sign of quality (AOP, AOC, IGP and red label): Cahors wine, Coteaux du Quercy wines, Lot wine, Quercy saffron, foie gras duck from the South-West, Quercy melons, Quercy farm lamb, black truffles, rocamadour cheese, walnuts, Pastis Quercynois (a cake, not a drink!), the leavened mique (thick leavened pastry cooked on a low heat in a broth accompanied by vegetables and a little salt).
Economy: four major sectors: electrical construction (Cahors group), aeronautics (Ratier Figeac, Figeac Aéro), mechanics (Figeac/Saint-Céré industrial arc), agri-food (historic headquarters of Andros at Biars-sur-Cère). Lot is also home to a multitude of small companies at the cutting edge of innovation, such as Whylot (in Cambes), which designs the engines of tomorrow, Soben (in Cahors), which has invented a delivery robot made in the Lot, and Pivaudran (in Souillac), a manufacturer of luxury metal packaging for perfumery and cosmetics, Thiot ingénierie (shock physics laboratory) in Puybrun, ITHPP (specialist in high-powered pulses) in Thégra, M2I biocontrol in Parnac (European leader in the production of biological solutions for the protection of plants and crops using pheromones)...
Heritage: 420 protected sites and monuments, including the legendary Valentré Bridge in Cahors (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela), the medieval town of Rocamadour, renowned underground sites (Gouffre de Padirac, Pech-Merle cave, etc.), the villages of Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Autoire, Loubressac, Cardaillac, Carennac and Capdenac-le-Haut are listed among the most beautiful villages in France.), the villages of Saint-Cirq Lapopie, Autoire, Loubressac, Cardaillac, Carennac and Capdenac-le-Haut are classified among the most beautiful villages in France.
Sport: International Urban Trial in Cahors (20,000 spectators): event organised in the town centre. The Easter Tournament in Cahors (football, youth teams), Lacapelle-Marival hosted the motocross world championship (MXGP) in October 2021, the Vayrac criterium (cycling), the "Dordogne Intégrale" (long-distance extreme race in canoe and stand-up paddle)
Culture and festivals: Saint-Céré festival (lyrical art), Rencontres cinéma in Gindou, Cahors blues festival, Souillac en jazz, Ecaussystème in Gignac (contemporary music), Africajarc (world music), Figeac theatre festival, Lot of Saveurs in Cahors (gastronomy), Rocamadour festival (sacred music). Figeac is home to the Musée des Ecritures and a giant reproduction of the Rosetta stone, deciphered by Jean-François Champollion (a native of the town), and Souillac, the Musée de l'Automate.
Websites and social networks :
The spectacular city of Rocamadour, the legendary Valentré Bridge in Cahors, the jewel of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and the impressive Padirac cave: behind these famous postcards lies Lot, a human-sized jewel with a preserved environment (a major reservoir of biodiversity with natural areas covering 70 pc of the territory and a sky free of light pollution). Between white Quercy, green Bouriane and the hilly Ségala, this department with an Occitan accent, irrigated by the Lot and Dordogne rivers, is varied. And synonymous with Cahors wine, the dry stones of the Causses, truffles and confits...
Here we live well, here we are well. And this has always been the case, as evidenced by the decorated caves (Pech Merle), the Gallo-Roman remains (the battle of Uxellodunum took place here), the numerous castles from the Middle Ages and the typical villages.
People come from far and wide to visit Lot. So why not live in these holiday sites full time? Why not take advantage all year round of the hiking trails, the panoramic views, the friendly markets, the bastides and, when the season comes, the mountain biking spots, sailing on the Lot, kayaking on the Dordogne or the Célé, or the fly fishing or night carp fishing sites? There are jobs to be filled, shops and craft companies to be taken over... The industries of Lot are recruiting in the aeronautics sector, innovating in the cutting-edge sectors (electrical and electronic construction), and developing in the agri-food sector (jam makers, palm oil industry)...
The "Oh my Lot" network offers personalised support for setting up in the department.
Information on https://www.choisirlelot.fr/
Montcuq-en-Quercy-Blanc (Pop : 1,500)
Commune popularised in the 1970s thanks to a famous sketch by Daniel Prévost in the television programme Le Petit rapporteur.
Formerly the capital of a castellany in the Middle Ages, Montcuq is also on one of the routes to Santiago de Compostela, the via Podiensis. The ancient medieval castrum is built on a cone-shaped hill, with houses occupying the entire southern slope. It was the home of the singer Nino Ferrer, who died here.
Tower of Montcuq
Foundation: built at the end of the 12th century.
Characteristic: major work was carried out in 1910-1911 (spiral staircase, renovation of the west façade). Further work was carried out in 1939, then in the 1950s and in 1964. The base was finally consolidated in 1984-85.
Current destination: a permanent historical exhibition "Montcuq in the Middle Ages, history of a tower" was opened in 2011.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1904.
Foundation: built at the end of the 13th century and modified in the 18th century.
Style: Gothic style (choir).
Features: Following a fire in 1562, and again in 1881, the village church forms a stone vessel with a single nave and polygonal chevet. The choir (radiating Gothic) is covered. The stained-glass windows depict the lives of Christ and Saint Hilaire in bright colours.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1933.
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