The Lot is in the region now known as Occitanie. Aptly named, it has it all. It is the department where the transition from the cooler, wetter north to the dry, hot south is encapsulated. The honey-coloured walls, steep roofs and small, flat tiles of the houses and pigonniers of the north part of the Lot, bordering the Dordogne, give way to the dazzling white stone and curved Roman tiles of the south, around Cahors.
From the majestic rivers lined with vineyards to the ancient villages and bastide towns, the stunning châteaux and the fields of sunflowers, the low-key agriculture and characteristic architecture complement the distinctive natural beauty of the region.
Walk along any country road in the spring and early summer and count the number of different orchids growing in the verges. The fields are full of splashes of deep blue muscari, carpets of violets and, later, the distinctive magenta of the wild gladioli. As summer progresses, sky-blue chicory and red poppies carpet the limestone reaches of the Causses, in the deep south of the Lot.
Wander along the Chemin St Jacques as it crosses the Lot from Figeac to Cahors and on to Moissac and you’ll see big, bright green, lizards and small, dark brown, ones scooting out of your way, and maybe even the exotic hoopoe. Take the northern route and you’ll pass through the astonishing village of Rocamadour, clinging perilously to the cliff face above the river. Pilgrims have passed this way for hundreds of years, an important stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
And below ground the wonders continue. The rivers that cross the region have carved canyons and cliffs in the soft limestone of the Causses and have given rise to the many caves and caverns where pre-historic paintings bear witness to the sophistication of our ancestors.
The Lot department is proud of its fine, local produce – from the truffles, to confit of duck & goose, to dark Cahor wines and the goat’s cheese of Rocamadour – you won’t be disappointed.