Walk in Lauzerte in the Tarn-et-Garonne

Lauzerte
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Lauzerte is a medieval city with an exceptional heritage, which has earned it an anthology of prestigious labels. It is one of the “ Remarkable Sites and Cities of France ”, the “ Most Beautiful Villages of France ”, “ Major Occitanie Sites ”, “ Cities and Crafts ”. The village sits on a hill and offers a breathtaking panorama of the Quercy countryside. It is also an important stopover on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle and a good starting point for hiking in the region. Come on, we'll take you for a walk in Lauzerte!


Photos of the article ©   Guide Tarn Aveyron


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Lauzerte, a medieval city with a funereal destiny

Lauzerte is built in the 13th century by a count of Toulouse, who will erect almost 200 houses and give it official status, with its "customs". But his birth is much earlier. It is based on an old Gallo-Roman oppidum. It will be transformed into " castelnau ". However, its hall and its foundation charter bring it closer to a country house.


Did you know ? The " castelnau " is a Gascon term from the Middle Ages which designates a castral village, that is to say built around a castle. This term comes from the word " castel ", the castle, associated with the adjective " nau ", new. These " new castles " are developing around the eleventh century and aim to strengthen the protection of villages during this great period of local conflicts and war. These stone fortresses are gradually replacing the old feudal mottes. The village extends inside or around the fortified enclosure, under the aegis of the lord.

A bastide, on the other hand, is a new town, founded at the same time, but with a more economic vocation. It is built around a hall, surrounded and also protected by ramparts, which facilitates and secures trade. What particularly distinguishes them is that the bastide was created from scratch by a lord. Its architecture is very regular, but there is usually no castle. In addition, there is a desire to organize civic life, thanks to a charter.  

So Castelnau or Bastide? For Lauzerte, the debate is open...


Lauzerte

Located on the Chemins de Compostelle, a halo of prestige, it is a strategic place during the Hundred Years War. She will change her crown regularly, but will go through this cloudy period, without too much damage. On the other hand, it was particularly affected by the Wars of Religion. All the inhabitants of the village, men, women and children were killed by the Lord of Duras, of the Huguenot party.

Once peace has stabilized, the town becomes a merchant village again. During the Renaissance, it expanded with beautiful residences of magistrates and wealthy traders. Lauzerte was no longer talked about and the inhabitants spent quiet days there.


Lauzerte

The " Tolède Quercinoise ", a remarkable heritage site

An extraordinary medieval heritage

Lauzerte is above all a medieval city. Over time, it has managed to preserve its typical architecture and a heritage that plunges you into the heart of the Middle Ages and the centuries that followed. To appreciate it, you can contemplate:  

  • Its Place des Cornières, with its arcades, on three sides of the square, lined with half-timbered houses.
  • They are followed by mansions and old shops from the Renaissance and the Classical period, the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. They show you the evolution of this prosperous city, which was nicknamed the “ granary of Cahors ”. To see them, go through the Grand Rue, the castle square, that of the town hall, and the surrounding streets. Don't forget to look up to see their splendid mullioned windows.
  • Place de la Brèche, which reminds us of those troubled periods of the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion, when the city was taken, then its inhabitants massacred.
  • The esplanade on the Place de la Barbacane, with its incredible view of the Quercy Blanc and the Chasselas vines.

Lauzerte
Lauzerte

    Lauzerte and the Ways of Compostela

    If we compare Lauzerte to Toledo, it is for its exceptional medieval religious heritage. It is therefore an important stage on the Ways of Compostela. Among the must-sees, do not miss:  

    • The Pilgrim's Garden which explains the spiritual interest of the pilgrimage on this religious path, in the form of a fun and educational game.
    • The Parkway awake, which travels from the eighteenth century, in the old ditches of the city.
    • The St. Bartholomew's Church was built in the thirteenth century, but it has undergone many renovations. It is particularly famous for its baroque decorations.
    • The Carmelite Church dates from the fourteenth century. It reflects the damage of the Wars of Religion in Lauzerte and was rebuilt in the seventeenth century.
    • The chapel of the Hospice.
    • The Capuchin monastery and its legend of Father Calixte.
    • Many other churches and chapels mark this sacred stage: Saint-Amans de Lespinasse, Saint-Didier de Cadamas, Saint-Jean-de-Salles...

    Lauzerte
    Lauzerte

      Lauzerte, "City and crafts"

      Jacques Buchholtz is a world famous ceramicist and you will have the opportunity to admire his works, in the historic center of Lauzerte, in particular its " raised corner of the Place des Cornières ", but also on the " Chemin de l'Éveillé ".

      The crafts are well represented there. You will see beautiful pieces of art ironwork, perched at the top of the shops and workshops of the city. These are signs of the ironworker Sylvain Soligon. His son has now taken over and other artisans have settled in Lauzerte and are inspired by his work.

      The good idea The tourist office offers three guided tours to discover the city in all its facets, as well as an interpretation trail (fr).


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      Activities around Lauzerte

      Hiking on the GR and the Paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle

      The GR65 follows the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle and crosses the entire department, passing through Lauzerte, Moissac and Auvillar.

      If you are a cyclist, you will find what you are looking for on the " Véloroute des Gorges de l'Aveyron ". It is a sporting route but which will reveal you beautiful panoramas, in particular in the Quercy.

      The Canal des Deux Mers offers you many walks and cycle rides. It passes through Moissac, not far from the confluence between the Tarn and the Garonne.


      Lauzerte

      Visit the surrounding villages

      • Montjoi Castelsagrat and two other houses of the 13th century
      • Dunes and are treasure of the Visigoths
      • Montaigu-du-Quercy and its castle
      • Lafrançaise, a belvedere on the Quercy
      • Auvillar and Moissac, two other stages of the Ways of Compostela

      The good idea Read our articles: We take you to discover Moissac (fr) from the bottom up! And gain height in Auvillar (fr).


      Nearby tourist sites

      Find out more: Here is our report on the winter discovery of the medieval city of Lauzerte.


      Lauzerte

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      We hope that these few ideas made you want to visit Lauzerte, this city steeped in history and imbued with spirituality. 


      Did you like our article? Find others on our Blog "Do it your way" . Follow us on the Tarn Aveyron Guide Facebook page and on Instagram @guidedutarnaveyron


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