France // The Limousin, Dordogne and the Lot //


Villeneuve-sur-Lot, 75km west and downstream from Cahors, is a pleasant, workaday sort of town that makes a useful base. While there are no standout sights, the handful of attractive timbered houses in the old town and the arcaded central square go some way to compensate. A couple of towers alone survive from the fortifications of this originally bastide town, and to the south the main avenue, rue des Cieutats, crosses thirteenth-century Pont des Cieutat, which resembles the Pont Valentré in Cahors but is devoid of its towers.

The town’s most striking landmark is the red-brick tower of the church of St-Catherine, completed as late as 1937 in typically dramatic neo-Byzantine style. Beautiful friezes run along the length of the interior, depicting a procession of numerous saints, resplendent against a gold background, and evocative of early Christian art.

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