Lauzerte – one of France’s most beautiful villages

Lauzerte

Lauzerte boasts the title of ‘one of France’s most beautiful villages’ – one of only three villages in Tarn et Garonne region to claim the accreditation. In fact the ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ association honoured Lauzerte with this prestigious nod to protect its local heritage and prevent a rural exodus to nearby urban areas. We visited Lauzerte from Montaigu de Quercy when we stayed earlier this year – just a short 30 minute ride away.

Perched on a hilltop, our car wound through the outside suburbs which fell away to reveal the central old town, with its traditional bastide features. The Counts of Toulouse made Lauzerte a bastide town in 1241 due to its strategic importance and the village has the tell tale rigid layout. Rather than the winding narrow streets of many medieval towns, like Mont St Michel, for example, bastides are laid out in a square or rectangular pattern with straight streets that intersect at right angles – more like Manhattan!

Lauzerte

The central focus of the bastide was the main square and the Place des Cornieres houses the senechaussee, the administrative heart. Couverts or arcaded galleries frame the main square. Lauzerte is littered with the half timber framed houses stereotypical of bastides. Usually filled in with cob, baked earth or bricks, these houses were normally two stories high – the upper floor providing living quarters and the ground floor housing a store or workshop. It’s quite easy to imagine the large arched doorways acting as shop windows.

Lauzerte

We took up residence at Cafe du Commerce to sample a local grape juice made of Chasselas grapes. My Rough Guide describes Lauzerte’s pace of life ‘as equal with that of a turning sunflower’ and the empty square certainly reflected that.  Eventually walking parties and hikers of all nationalities filled up the square waiting for the tourist office to open and clearing retracing the route of the Santiago de Compostela – a famous pilgrimage route than runs across France in to northern Spain.

Lauzerte

It’s clear that Lauzerte has a lively creative community from the geckos that covered Le Puits de Jous cafe to the local sculpture ‘Paving of the Place’ created by local ceramic artist, Jacques Buchholtz, which provides a Dali like vision in the corner of the Place des Cornieres.

Lauzerte

The Jardin au Pelerin, which starts behind the tourist office, runs along one of the carreyrous, an alleyway that runs along the back of houses. The garden trail offers amazing views across the patchwork Quercy valley. Up until the aftermath of the Wars of Religion, Lauzerte served as the capital of Bas Quercy (lower Quercy) as a reward for overthrowing the English. You certainly get a feeling for Lauzerte’s historical dominance surveying the countryside from this hilltop.

Lauzerte

We visited Lauzerte from Montaigu de Quercy, where we stayed with Sandy at Le Fargueil, kindly organised by the team at Halycon Leisure. You can read about our experiences here! 

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19 Comments

  1. June 24, 2016 / 4:42 am

    beautiful is not enough to describe this place… it is breathtaking and the Jardin makes a perfect photo backdrop. 🙂

  2. June 24, 2016 / 8:01 am

    That pace of life sounds perfect! What a great place to sip wine and enjoy those amazing views. Love the collage 😀

  3. June 24, 2016 / 10:06 am

    This looks like a wonderful place for a weekend getaway! I love the medieval architecture! Thanks for sharing this!

  4. June 24, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    France has some of the beautiful villages with quaint architecture and cobbled stone streets and Lauzerte is no exception. Thanks for sharing!

  5. June 24, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I like how being “one of the most beautiful villages in France” is an official title 🙂
    But indeed it looks really beautiful. I haven’t been to France yet, but when I go, this is the kind of place I’d imagine just hanging out for a week reading books and sipping wine.

  6. June 24, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    It looks really pretty I’ve not explored much of France which is a shame since I’m based in the U.K. It not even that far so I might just go and check this place out

  7. June 24, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    This would be a fantastic place to spend a weekend away after a long work week and have some delicious tasting wine and just walk around and spend time with a partner of friends. Love this.

  8. June 24, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    What is up with that floor that comes up!? I’m surprised there aren’t many people in your photos.

  9. June 25, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    France surely has its charm! And this looks like a perfect weekend getaway. I can only imagine the pleasant vibe this little village provides

  10. June 25, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    Beautiful pictures. Is this village in the south of France? I have yest to visit France and love its people. Louvre in Paris and the Palace of Versailles are their on my bucket list. Thanks for the post, my friend. May I request you to subscribe to my website? Thanks

  11. June 26, 2016 / 10:25 am

    This is such a charming place. It is quaint and at the same time picturesque. It would be great to be able to take leisurely stroll around the village. Have not gone beyond Paris, hope to explore the interior of France , next time.

  12. June 26, 2016 / 10:36 am

    Miss my days in Europe and France – your blog reminds me of the nice afternoons with wine and cheese and beautiful French summer

  13. June 26, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    Lauzerte looks amazing! I’ve never been here or to Toulouse at all, but I have been to Mont St, Michel and Bruges, so I know I love exploring medieval cities. I should definitely try visiting!

  14. June 26, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    I just broke my heart reading this post!
    I had to cancel my flight to Paris 2 hours ago. So I will be traveling along with you in your blog and enjoying beautiful France through your photos.

  15. June 27, 2016 / 3:26 am

    This looks lovely! I’m off to France in a few weeks actually so this has gotten me even more excited.

  16. June 27, 2016 / 5:39 am

    It looks like such a peaceful, yet creative place to visit! Really lovely pictures that really help to capture the atmosphere of the place!

  17. June 27, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    This is such a charming little place. I especially love those old buildings for their unspoiled architecture

  18. June 29, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    I love, love, love old villages! And it seems like France has a lot of them! Included this is my not-getting-any-shorter bucket list!

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