Tony Bennett only left his heart in San Francisco because he hadn’t been to Cahors first. Arriving in the city, you cannot help but be captivated immediately by its central street. Lined with plane trees and cafés, Boulevard Léon Gambetta invites you to explore further.
It marks the course of the old walls of this city that is the capital of the Lot département.
At its foot is the Pont Louis-Philippe. When we visited last month, we stood on the bridge and watched as people enjoyed the Cahors-Plage (pictured), the city’s nod to Paris’ imported Seine-side beach.
Like San Francisco, Cahors also has a famous bridge. Called Pont Valentré, it is considered to be France’s most beautiful. It acts a symbol of the city – and its three towers serve as reminders of the locals’ resistance against English control during the Hundred Years War.
To the east of Boulevard Léon Gambetta lie the medieval streets of the old city centre. We visited on a Saturday, so they were buzzing as locals and tourists alike clamoured for the attentions of the busy traders at the market.
There is also a covered market, known as les Halles, where you can escape the heat. We stopped in and got talking to a wine seller, who invited us to taste the difference between the local tradition wines and their prestige cousins. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in addition to our memories of the city, we came away with a selection of three of his best Cahors wines.
Our hearts, however, we certainly left behind.