Towards the end of the twelfth century, two noblemen approached Raymond V, Count of Toulouse, with a proposal to build a château and 200 houses on a hill in the Quercy region. It was perhaps, the start of the very first housing development in France—and they’ve been popping up ever since!
(Published November 2013, updated May 2020)
Protected by the towers and six gates (portes en français) that control the entrance to the town, Lauzerte was the earliest version of the bastide, or fortified town, which provided a strategic defence post for the rulers of the time.
Today Lauzerte is classified as one of France’s most beautiful villages—and is the first of five you’ll visit on this section of the Chemin de Saint-Jacques between Cahors and Eauze.
As you arrive in Place des Cornières, call in to the Tourist Office and ask for the map – Lauzerte, Itinéraire d’une Bastide. The brochure shares a little of the history of the village and will guide you past ten of the most historic buildings and streets.
Place des Cornières has been the hub of Lauzerte since its beginning—it has been the site of fresh food markets, festivals and, during the French Revolution, public executions.
A church dedicated to Saint-Barthélémy is located across the village square. Built in the thirteenth century, the church has been enlarged and refurbished many times and now the doorway is all that remains from the original structure.
Although much of the city walls and portes are gone, there are plenty of medieval buildings and houses remaining in the village to make a stroll through the back streets worthwhile. Grand Rue and Rue de la Garrigue are lined with stone-and-timbered houses dating from the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. A walk along these streets leads you to Place du Château, which has glorious views over the countryside (sadly, the Château itself is no longer standing).
On the southern side of the village, Jardin du Pèlerin will lead you through fragrant rose gardens, where display boards offer an insight into the joys and struggles of daily life for early pilgrims on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques.
A glance through the Guide des Festivités produced by the Tourist Office reveals that something happens in Lauzerte almost every day (although Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have brought everything to a temporary halt)! These events may be as simple as a concert in the church, while at other times, larger events in the village can draw visitors from further afield and place additional pressure on accommodation. If you know you’ll be in Lauzerte at the same time as a local event, it’s advisable to book your bed early!
Which long-distance walk in France visits Lauzerte?
Where is Lauzerte, France? Find it on Google maps
Lauzerte is located 405 kilometres (253 miles) along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques – a twenty-two day walk from the starting point of Le-Puy-en-Velay.
Click through to find my suggested itinerary for all five stages of the walk
If you prefer to set your own agenda, I share the steps I take to calculate distances on any long-distance walk (using the Chemin de Stevenson as a case study)
Tourist Office in Lauzerte
You’ll find the Tourist Office on Place de Cornières. Opening hours are listed here.
Accommodation in Lauzerte
Whether you prefer the anonymity of hotels, the personalised service of a chambre d’hôte, the camaraderie of a gîte or are making the most of your budget, you’ll find something to suit in Lauzerte. Options include –
Camping Le Beau Village de Lauzerte
Where to eat in Lauzerte
You’ll find cafés serving lunch and dinner in Place de Cornières and several more below the Barbacane on the far side of the village.
For more practical supplies, you’ll also find a bakery and supermarket in Lauzerte.
If you are leaving Lauzerte on a Wednesday or Saturday, the morning market provides the ideal opportunity to pick up some fresh, local produce for a picnic lunch.
Lauzerte is one of eleven ‘most beautiful villages’ found along the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy. Find them all here.