Lot is one of the eight departments of the Midi Pyrenees region. It is adjacent to the Correze, Cantal, Aveyron, Tarn et Garonne, Lot et Garonne and Dordogne departments. The department was created in 1790 and included at this time the town of Montauban. When the Tarn et Garonne department was created in 1808 by Napoleon I, the Lot was divided. Cahors is the capital of Lot with a population just over 23,000. The town is surrounded with three rivers and hills.
Located between Aquitaine and Auvergne, it offers several landscapes. The Causse, Limargue, Bouriane and Quercy Blanc are part of the limestone plateaus, formed by sea sediments. The Ségala area is composed of a mountain range. But the Lot department is also composed of hills, woods and preserved villages. As regards climate, the north of Lot has a mountainous weather due to its closeness with the Massif Central. On the contrary, the climate in the south is temperate.
The Middle Ages let their architectural marks with castles and perched villages. Medieval architecture is displayed both on Cahors’ buildings and bridge which crosses the rivers. The area also had an heritage from the Prehistory which may be seen through beautiful caves. For instance, Padirac cave is an interesting site to be discovered with its underground river – unique in the world. Other caves like Les Merveilles in Rocamadour, Pech Merle in Cabrerets or Cougnac in Payrignac are also protected sites.
The Regional Natural Park of the Causses area covers a great part of the Lot department. It stretches over 97 towns. Caves, abysses and underground rivers are just some of the landscapes you will discover there.
In the surroundings, Rocamadour is a must-visit. It is perched on a cliff used as a step in the past by pilgrims on the Compostela way. It offers breathtaking scenery and has been visited by millions of people – about one million visitors a year. Rocamadour constitutes a major stake for the Lot economy.
Middle Ages dungeons, Renaissance castles, Roman and Gothic churches, medieval houses, caves and other archeological sites, farmhouses and grinders, the Lot department holds more than 400 protected monuments as well as about 120 World Heritage sites. This reflects the richness and diversity of Lot’s heritage.
In the Causses area, stone is everywhere: scattered pebbles and rocks attract the visitors’ eyes. Typical buildings such as low walls, wells and cabins are made of dry stones, i.e. without mortar or binding. Dry stone is part of the cultural, architectural and landscape heritage of Lot. Lovers of rural heritage will be seduced by the dry stone charms. Another main symbol of the department is the pigeonnier.
Lot is a unique department, close to Bordeaux and Toulouse, where properties are a few less expensive than elsewhere. For instance, Lot is 30% cheaper than Dordogne. The average property price in Lot is €1,733 / sq m in 2009 - €3,197 / sq m in France. More precisely, if your budget is low or if you are looking for a buy-to-let, you can decide to invest in an apartment which prices are affordable - €1,340 / sq m.
If your needs are more oriented towards newly built properties, modern apartments are for sale from €2,780/sq m. As regards houses, a small property - 3 rooms - should cost about €122,000. You may also find other bargains under €200,000 for larger houses: 4 or 5 rooms’ price is from €140,000 to €185,000. The average price for a 6-room property is about €168,000, which is a low price considering the size of the house.
The department became popular and international buyers were seduced and settled there. Rentals represent an important economic source thanks to tourism. This is the perfect moment to invest in Lot, as prices have dropped since the end of 2008. The current slowdown will not last forever: when prices will be too low, they will increase again naturally.
To get updated info about the housing prices in the Lot department, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Hobbies & sport: if you have never practised canoe or kayak, then Lot will be a paradise for you ! Hiking, horse riding, mountain biking… each one should be satisfied: with 10,000km of roads and 12,000km of rural ways, this is the best way to discover the diversity and richness of Lot either cultural or natural. Golf, potholing, air sports, fishing, climbing, ball sports are widespread in the department. The originality of Lot is to offer a 64km navigable courses with diversified landscapes - castles, villages, vines, cliffs – to be discovered by boat.
Economy: Lot's economy is mainly based on industry, agriculture and craft industry. Industry is composed of four main sectors (electricity supply, aviation industry, mechanics and food industry) which make the Lot department an attractive economic area. Food industry represents 50% of the Lot’s turnover and 30% of the local value added.As far as agriculture is concerned,either industrial or home-made, they are always quality and authentic produce. Agriculture employs a number of people superior than the national average. Amongst the most important productions are bovine, milk, wine and ovine. Cahors’ red wine is the most famous wine of the department and made the reputation of the town. Finally, one worker out of five works in a hand-crafted company. Craftsmen promote craft industry all over the Lot department with several events. It represents over 250 professions divided in four main sectors: food, production, building and services. The 2/3 of the hand-crafted companies work in building and services and 1/3 is dedicated to food and production.
Tourism: Lot lives partly thanks to tourism activities. Caves and abysses are numerous and get 400,000 visitors each year. Autoire, Loubressac, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Carennac are part of the most beautiful villages in France. More than one million visitors travel each year to Rocamadour, which is the second site most visited in France after the Mont Saint Michel. One third of the 420 protected sites and historical monuments are located in Lot, while the seven other departments of the Midi Pyrenees region only share the two other thirds. As a result, tourism is the third key development sector of Lot.
Gastronomy: Causse’s sheep, Ségala’s beef, Célé’s trout, Lot’s frying, Ouysse’s pike, truffles, foie gras, duck and goose confit, boletus mushrooms, goat’s cheese called cabécou, croustilot bread, free-range lamb, Perigord’s walnut, Quercy’s melon, saffron, jam, not forgetting Cahors’ famous red wine. All these local produce are emphasized by the restorers’ know-how and experience.
Location: the department is easily reachable from the United Kingdom. Flights travel regularly from/to Rodez and Toulouse airports. Another airport, Brive-Souillac, is currently in construction. By train, the high-speed line leads to Paris, Lyon or Lille amongst others. Three main railway stations on the Paris Toulouse line: Cahors, Souillac and Gourdon. Two main train stations on the Paris-Rodez line: Gramat and Figeac. By road, Cahors is 5 ½ hr from Paris, 1 1/3 from Toulouse and 4 ½ hr from Barcelona.
Most tiles in Quercy are made of clay. However, in the White Quercy and in the Lower Quercy, they are composed of concave tiles. In the north of the Lot river, flat tile are used most of the time. The lower Quercy, lacking of rock, had to build earth properties: clay is bountiful and of quality. In all the other areas of the Lot department stone is profuse. Bouriane’s soil is rich of limestone and yellow sandstone. After the stone, the wood is the most used material. This is the half-timbered style.
Quercy houses: as its name suggests, Quercy houses can be found in the Quercy area i.e. around Cahors and more generally in the higher Quercy, which is actually the Lot department. They are rectangular shaped properties holding a chimney a long façade wall, shed dormers, covered terrace and a pigeonnier. The pigeon house was originally a sign of power but also a very useful and cheap manure called columbine. Quercy houses around Cahors usually have an upper-floor. You may find some properties with a swimming pool.
White stone houses: these houses have a wonderful charm and are attractive by their clarity. Stones may be exposed inside the house and bring out the beautiful beams. Roofs are composed of ancient Provencal tiles. The particularity of Lot’s properties is the tower being part of the house. Moreover, you can admire a great view in the countryside and an infinite calmness.
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|Take a closer look at the Lot property market:|
|Cahors Property Information||Figeac Property Information|
|Gourdon Property Information||Montcuq Property Information|
|Souillac Property Information|