Souillac is the entrance door of the Midi-Pyrenees region in the Lot department, halfway between Rocamadour and Sarlat, in the heart of the Dordogne valley, close to many castles, caves, museums and to the most beautiful villages of France. It is situated in the north-west of the department, near the Dordogne and Correze departments’ borders.
In a quaint framework, Souillac offers its charms: abbey-church, parish church, old alleys rich in history and seven viaducts to be visited by foot or by the touristy train. The National Museum of Automaton and Robotics houses one of the most important and varied automaton and old automated toys collection in Europe. A part of the museum is dedicated to contemporary automatons.
Souillac is a small town of less than 4,000 inhabitants which grew around a 12th century Benedictine abbey. This former Sainte-Marie abbey-church was fortified during the Hundred Years’ war but then was destroyed during the religions’ war. The Quercy Roman monument was clearly inspired by the Byzantine style. With Cahors’ church, this is the only one to be covered by several domes and to be well-conserved. It is nowadays part of the World Heritage.
The town still has beautiful vestiges which can be seen everywhere, in each street or alley. The old streets are a good representation of these remains. Saint Martin church and its 16th century bell tower is today the Town Hall’s belfry. In Barnicou square, one of the five entrance doors of the Middle Ages town. In Pierre Betz square, the Benedictine monastery lasting from the 11th century. On the right, the Sainte-Marie abbey-church with its three domes. Then, place de la Nau and Sales’ Hostel dating from the 13th and 18th century used to housing pilgrims. In Place du puits, you can admire the former and only well supplying drinking water during the 17th and 18th century.
The Château de la Tryene is surrounded with French gardens. With its 14th century square tower, the castle stands on the left bank of Dordogne. Weapons room, living room and Louis XIII furniture can be admired. From the terrace, enjoy the amazing view on the river’s meanders.
If your budget is quite low, do not worry, some bargains are available in the property market of Souillac. For instance, a good investment for handymen would be to buy a house to be renovated. They are cheap properties - from €50,000 to €80,000 - but not without charm and particularity. Moreover, it allows you to choose the materials and decorations which fit your expectations. For higher budgets, habitable houses may be worth an interest: for less than €170,000, you will fine several properties in the area such as town houses. Modern houses will cost a little more but remain still profitable: between €170,000 and €220,000 depending on the location and the size of the house.
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.
History: during the Hundred Years’ war, Souillac was occupied by the English. Thus, they could close the Dordogne traffic and devastate the Turenne’s viscount lands. It was at this time a ruined and depopulated town. The English invaders were evicted only after the Brétigny treaty was signed.
Gourmet food: except foie gras, truffles, confits and Cahors red wine which are the department specialities and thus can be found all over Lot, you can discover in Souillac brandy of plum. This is the pride of the Quercy-Perigord area that restaurant owners try to promote. It is made with the so-called old plum, a meticulous selection of different varieties of plums. Duck and goose are cooked several ways: foie gras, stuffed neck, gizzard, roasted or smoked breast.
Location: Souillac is the geographical link between the Upper Quercy, Perigord area and the lower Limousin region. Thanks to its privileged location, this is the ideal touristy place to go and discover these marvellous areas. Souillac is reachable by the A20 motorway (Paris-Toulouse highway) and by train with the Paris-Toulouse railway line.
Activities: you have several options: canoe-kayak on the Dordogne river and discovery of medieval villages and haughty castles - courses from 9km to 60km -, fishing (trout, whitefishes and carnivore fishes), mountain biking, hiking. Not forgetting potholing: Souillac’s underground network is a great place to be explored. The Lot department (and the Midi Pyrenees region) is part of important limestone plateaus. Thus, the department enjoys more than 2,000 cavities (abysses, caves, carverns…). Some of them are renowned for their concretions like Padirac and Lacave. Others were inhabited and hold rock paintings (Cougnac and Pech-Merle). However, most caves are private and then you will need the permission before entering.
The most used material in property construction in Souillac is without any doubt stone: exposed or not, they are present in almost all the properties.
Town houses: they are located close to all amenities and often in the town centre. You may need to plan some works. Usually town houses have a fireplace and a garden. They can be an interesting investment if you are looking for a buy-to-let as it holds many assets.
Modern houses: as their name suggests, modern houses do not need renovation. They usually have painted walls, exposed beams, a garage, a garden, a terrace and you may also find some with a pool. This is the ideal property if you are looking to settle in the Lot department. As a main home, it allows you an infinite calmness in the countryside and an easy access to all amenities.
Quercynoise: they are typical properties of the Midi Pyrenees region and can thus be found throughout the region. In general, they have an outside stair, long frames, few windows and a pigeonnier, whose main purpose is to get manure from the pigeons’ excretions. The other particularity is that they have a tower attached to the house. You may find some with a swimming pool and chimney.
Click here for more info about Midi Pyrenees Architecture.
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