approaching cahors, and malbec wine awaits
Many pèlerins, who will have started the Chemin de St Jacques de Compostelle in Puy-en-Velay, will eventually stop in Cahors and will take the train home or to another larger city with an airport. Most pèlerins walk the chemin in sections, and Cahors represents the destination of one of those sections.
For me Cahors represented the Malbec grape. The inky intense red grape is combined with other varietals to produce a beautiful wine that drinks well with some slowly cooked, rich meat dishes.
By the way, Cahors is not pronounced with an “h”. I was talking to my French tutor the other day, and she reminded me that the “h” is silent. One says, “Ca–ors.” (The “s” is silent, too.)
DAY 18 à Cahors sur Le Chemin de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle par la vallée du Célé.
The section of the chemin that leads into Cahors is flat and follows the Lot River.
I had walked a good portion of the Chemin at this point, maybe half of it, and I felt confident and content. I had seen some of the prettiest scenery so far during the diversion from the GR65 to the GR 651 and through the Célé River Valley. That portion of the trip was to end this day; I was to arrive in Cahors in the afternoon, and two nights there were waiting me. A gorgeous day it was, too. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
Eventually, you will emerge from the trees and leave the Lot River and begin to see civilization. Houses appear. Traffic noise is in the distance. And . . . you will see large gardens, not quite big enough to be farms, but the quantity of produce that grows suggests some commercial activity. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
You follow a maze through some streets, trying to locate each white and red marker that will guide you into the city. Then you emerge again and see to your right Cahors, jutting above the Lot River. You will enter the city from the north. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
I arrived on a market day. The hotel where I stayed was across the way from it. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
The churches in the villages and towns along the way are are important part of the culture and the history of the region. They are attractions to tourists. The separation between church and state is more clearly defined and stated in French law than in the United States. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
Many of streets are lined with homes and buildings that were built during the middle ages. The lattice work on these buildings and the overhanging walls suggest their age. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)
One of the more exciting attractions in Cahors is the bridge which you must cross to continue the Way. The Pont Valentré was built in the 14th century. Construction was started in 1308 and it was eventually finished in 1378. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)