Montcuq is a small village of about 1,300 inhabitants of the Lot department (Midi Pyrenees), located 27km in the south-west of Cahors and in the Quercy Blanc area. The name of the town became famous in the ‘70s thanks to a sketch of a French journalist. Actually, the name of the town is pronounced the wrong way, which gives rise to smiling. Literally, Montcuq has the same pronunciation than mon cul which means my derriere and thus leads to many puns. The pronunciation rule of the langue d’oc language is to pronounce each letter. So, the French journalist commented during a television broadcast called Le Petit Rapporteur: ‘Today, I am glad to show you Montcuq on television’.
The etymology of Montcuq is uncertain and several roots were proposed. The name would come from Latin mons (mount) and cuc (peak) with reference to the location of the town, built on the peak of a hill. The name could also come from the pre-Celtic root cuq (height, promontory or high place). This root is also at the origin of other regional words in France, Sardinia or Sicily.
Montcuq was built on a hill dominating the Barguelonnette River and the Chasselas vineyards. The town is divided into two parts: the village is located in the upper hill with the principal square, street market, typical alleys… but it also grew towards small suburbs – Saint Jean quarter, industrial and commercial area which follows the river.
Montcuq, originally a medieval castrum, was a thriving town during the 12th century and at the beginning of the 13th century. Its fortifications were destroyed when Raymond VII was forced to sign the Paris treaty. During the 15th century, the town was totally ruined due to the Hundred Years’ war. During the religions’ war, the Protestants burned down Saint Hilaire church and destroyed the Cordeliers’ convent and Saint Privas church. Montcuq is also a step while making Compostela’s pilgrimage. Many pilgrims still walk along this way each year, from May to June.
Montcuq is a cone-shaped mount on which is nestled a dungeon. The stone is omnipresent in the Quercy Blanc area: it is dry and white, cut or stony and is part of the town’s soul. Simple houses with sparkling colours’ roofs, lavender, cypress, music and laughs in the local bars, coloured street markets… it seems like a Provence area atmosphere. In the streets and back-alleys, old brick houses and cob from the 18th and 19th centuries with corbelled construction and half-timbering are worth visiting.
Roland cave, discovered in 1949 thanks to a swallow hole, holds a 1,700m underground network. This is a special cave due to its morphology (cauliflower shaped concretions, lake, draperies), palaeontology (cave bears’ bones and scratches) and potholing (a collective sepulchre dating from the Iron Age - 700 BC - was discovered).
Montcuq is a small town located in the countryside and thus do not undergo high prices such as larger towns or cities. The average price for a property in the area is between €1,700/square metre and €1,900/square (however some properties are more expensive). Property prices are in the average price of the Lot department (€1,733/square metre). Properties are cheap compared with others regions of France and especially the average in property prices for France – €3,200/square metre. Rentals in the area represent only 27.6% of all the properties. The town is a better place for a retirement, a second home or even to set up a guest house or a Bed & Breakfast.
These are figures for 2009.
To get updated info about the property prices in the Lot departement, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Activities: an artificial lake allows swimming and fishing in an amazing scenery. Many facilities and other equipments are at anyone’s disposal such as swimming pool, camping site, multimedia library, golf court, skydiving, paragliding, canoe-kayak… Montcuq is part of the Station Verte de Vacances French network, which means that it is an eco area where it is pleasant to spend time, either for holidays or for permanent residence. Les deux jours de Montcuq is a famous international 200km horse race which lasts 2 days. This is an inevitable race for the worldwide endurance elite. The first week-end after Easter is devoted to a horse second-hand trade: during two days, you can buy, sell or exchange horses’ items. At the end of July, the International Folklore Festival takes place in the streets: music, costumes, tradition, dances...
Architecture: The dungeon-tower, built between the 11th and 12th centuries, is the last vestige of the castle. Its 24m dominate the Petite Barguelonne valley and the medieval burg. In order to reinforce its defence, the tower was machicolated. It was originally the Montcuq Lords’ residence. Saint Hilaire church with its octagonal bell tower holds a 14th century choir with large Gothic windows and modern glazing. Saint Privas church has a Baroque furniture style and paintings from the 17th century. Saint Géniès church was built during the 12th century and has a beautiful Roman style. Saint Pierre church, located in Rouillac, is also a Roman monument renowned for its 12th century wall paintings.
Street market: each Sunday and Thursday mornings, Montcuq organises a town market. Sunday’s market is part of the hundred most beautiful markets of France. It is convivial and lively and it represents an inevitable date for all the locals. Just hang out in the streets, have a break in a bar and taste some waffles and meringues before doing some shopping. On Thursdays, the market is dedicated to Montcuq area producers: this is an enchanting festival of tastes and local perfumes. Honey, wine, bread, local goat’s cheese (cabécou)… just some of the local produce you may find there!
Montcuq is said to have a simple architecture style, but they still have a particularity. Houses are white and the local material used for their building is also white. Montcuq amazed by its clarity. Half-timbered houses were built after the Hundred Years’ war.
Stone houses: white stones are used to build such houses and give the property a wonderful charm. Stones may be exposed inside the house and bring out the beautiful beams. Roofs are made of ancient Provencal tiles. Some of them have towers, which is a particularity of the area. Furthermore, they offer a great view in the countryside and an infinite quietness.
Village houses: you may find village houses in the area of Montcuq. They are usually made of white stones. Their roofs are similar to those of detached houses i.e. composed of ancient Provencal tiles. They are very charming properties and have the advantage to be close to all amenities.
Click here for more info about Midi Pyrenees Architecture.
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