Unpack, Unwind & Enjoy
the Ride!

  • Footpath in the Lot Valley
  • St Cirque Lapopie
  • Rocamadour
  • Chateau Chambert Cahors Winery
  • View from Domme in the Dordogne

The Lot and Dordogne a little history

Pont Valentre - Cahors

This region was part of the battlefield of the Hundred Years War, thus many of the castles, villages and towns were built by the English.

Timeline of the 100 Year War

  • 1337 The Start of the Hundred Years War
  • 1340 Philippe VI Becomes King of France
  • 1346 English Victory at Crcy, August 26,
  • 359 English Victory at Poitiers, September 19,
  • 1360 Treaty of Calais, October,
  • 1360 Treaty of Bretigny,
  • 1415 The Battle of Agincourt,
  • 1422 English Conquest of Northern France,
  • 1429 Victory of Joan of Arc at Orlans,
  • 1435 Treaty of Arras, September 21,
  • 1450 - 1451 Reconquest of Normandy & Guyenne,
  • 1453 End of the Hundred Years War.

France in 1360

The Crusades
Their founder, Hugh de Payens, and his nine knights vowed to protect the overland path from the sea to the city of Jerusalem. For the first nine years of their existence however, they dug beneath the ancient temple, excavating an ancient network of tunnels. The Ark of the Covenant3 was supposed to be housed in this temple before the city was sacked by eastern invaders.

It's thought that the Knights Templar come across some ancient knowledge while they were excavating that may have originally come from Egypt or, as some have hypothesised, Atlantis.The knowledge was in the form of many things but most noticeably, to those in the Middle Ages, architecture. Gothic cathedrals sprung up throughout Europe in designs never seen before, one of the first being Chartres which employed flying buttresses. This is an architectural design feature which allowed for more space in the interior of churches and larger stained glass windows.

The Templars became extremely powerful over rather a short period of time, mostly thanks to the work of the priest named Bernard de Clairvaux (later St Bernard), who introduced them to Pope Honorius II, who eventually made them answerable to only him.

Upon their return to France, armed with what they had found, they grew strongly in number, gathering great quantities of gifts in lands and titles. Noblemen and peasants alike flocked to join the ranks of these knights who would then grant their own lands to the Order in the spirit of the brotherhood. Many noblemen who didn't want to join a crusade donated their lands to the cause in exchange for a quick passage to Heaven.

Chateau Beynac
This middle ageconstruction, with its austere appearance, is perched on top of a cliff, dominating the town and the north bank of the river Dordogne

Dating from 1283, the bastide of Domme overlooks the Dordogne from the South and is quite simply one of the most beautiful places from which to admire the view. The golden stoned village is crammed with small artisans' shops and is extremely well preserved.
You can visit the underground cavern under the covered market where the village's population hid during the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of Religion. Domme was also for a time a Knights Templar stronghold.
Domme is a little larger than many of the bastide towns, and is found perched high above the Dordogne River, with  wonderful views of the river and countryside. Unusually among the bastide towns, Domme retains part of its original fortified walls and the gateways into the town.
Domme is on the itinerary of our bike tour of the Dordogne.

La Roque Gageac
Surrounded by ancient manors and crowned with cliffs, La Roque mirrors itself in the waters of the Dordogne river.
It was an important fortified place in medieval times.

Les Eyzies
The prehistoric site of Les Eyzies includes the Muse national de Prhistoire Les Eyzies-de-Tayac which is to be found in a 13th century castle perched above the village. The museum contains a large number of artefacts dating back in some cases more than 15,000 years. Nearby the Grotte de Font de Gaume and the Grotte des Combarelles contain a fine collection of prehistoric art including bison, reindeer, magic symbols and carvings.

Sarlat-la-Canda is a medium sized market town whose roots go back as far as a Benedictine abbey founded in the 9th century but which came into its own during the 13th. Following the Hundred Years War Charles VII rewarded Sarlat's population for its loyalty against the English through a number of tax exemptions and gifts. The fruits of the  resulting reconstruction in the middle of the 15th century are still visible today. Visit Sarlat via a disused railway track now a cycle path on our Dordogne French cycling holiday.


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