Photo hike on the Compostelle trail from Cahors to Moissac and Lectoure

Architectural wealth and exceptional terroirs. Denis Grison takes us on a photo tour of the Chemin de "Compostelle". Cahors to Moissac, then Moissac to Lectoure, 130km stage of the GR 65. Pilgrims are guided from architectural discoveries to testimonies of local richness.

Pont Valentré in Cahors (Lot)

The tour starts in the Lot department, in Cahors.

"Begun in 1308, the last stone of the bridge would not be laid until 70 years later," explains ActuLot! Despairing of the "lost time", the architect asked the devil to help him finish the work, in exchange for which he would give up his soul as payment.

However, when the bridge is nearing completion, the architect plays a trick on the wise man by asking him to bring water up to the top of the central tower, in order to mix the mortar to seal the last stone of the bridge. But, instead of a container, he gives him...a sieve. Thus, unable to raise the water, the devil cannot keep his promise to complete the work. As a result, the architect saves his soul. Furious, Satan returns every night to tear away the last stone of the bridge that the masons have put in place."

Shepherds' shrubs on the GR65: the burons

 The GR 65 "Chemin de Compostelle" is the most popular hiking trail. From sunken paths to rocky trails in the Quercy Blanc region, it reveals an extremely rich heritage, from Romanesque chapels and abbeys to fortified villages and simple shepherd's huts known as burons.

Other examples of rural architecture: dovecotes

Rouillac church in Montcuq (Lot)

"The chevet and side walls of the nave are the oldest parts of the church, possibly dating from the second half of the 12th century", explains Wikipedia.

The portal dates back to the 15th century and was re-used as a cemetery gate in the 19th century when the bell tower was added.

The north and south chapels were added after 1870, as were the false vaults in the nave. The date 1883 is inscribed on a window sill in the north elevation.

The nave, with the exception of the bell tower, has been listed, while the choir and paintings have been classified as historic monuments.

The apse has preserved a pictorial program from the end of the 12th century, constituting a remarkable collection of Romanesque paintings from the Quercy region."

 

Saint-Sernin du Bosc church in Lauzerte (Tarn et Garonne)

The church of Saint-Sernin du Bosc was last restored in 1994. Sauvegarde de l'Art Français explains: "The church is absolutely isolated and almost forgotten in a rural valley, with difficult access, poetically called "Combe du Miel". It became a parish church after the French Revolution, and is located in the commune of Lauzerte. 

Under the Ancien Régime, it belonged to the diocese of Cahors and was one of many possessions of the Abbey of Moissac, on which it depended until the 13th century. It was then ceded by the abbots of Moissac to the bishop of Cahors. It is a Romanesque edifice of very modest proportions (total length 20 m), built of medium-fixed stone.

Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Moissac (Tarn et Garonne)

The Saint-Pierre de Moissac abbey is impressive. The abbey website gives its history and even a video from the TV program "Des racines et des ailes".

The tympanum of the abbey church

The tympanum in Moissac's Saint-Pierre church measures 6.5 m by 4.5 m. It was created between 1110 and 1130. It is inspired by the Apocalypse of John. This enthusiast details the elements of the tympanum.

Le Trumeau

The monolithic overmantel is adorned with interlaced animals: three pairs of intertwined lions and lionesses, set against a plant background, superimpose themselves on the visible face of the overmantel and evoke the divine ascension; the side faces depict Saint Paul and the prophet Jeremiah. The two Moorish-influenced figures on the multi-lobed jambs represent Saint Peter and the prophet Isaiah. The two apostles are probably an allusion to Moissac's attachment to the Abbey of Cluny, placed under the protection of St. Peter and St. Paul.

 

Saint-Paul

The prophet Jeremiah

What modern craftsmanship for a 12th-century statue!

 

The interior of Saint-Pierre Abbey

Inside, in addition to the ribbed windows and murals, there's a superb life-size polychrome wooden tomb from the late 15th century.

 

The Romanesque cloister

Dating back to 1100, the cloister is made up of four timber-framed galleries whose arcades are supported by a series of 116 marble columns. The cloister houses 46 capitals with different themes: Genesis, Infancy of Christ, Miracles of Saint Benedict, plants, animals...s

Auvillar

Continuation of the Tarn et Garonne tour. Auvillar is one of France's most beautiful villages, on the banks of the Garonne. Its jewels include the circular market hall and the clock tower.

Suspension bridge over the Garonne at Auvillar

One of the oldest suspension bridges?

Saint Antoine

Religious monks settled on the Arratz in the 12th century. From their hospital, they kept watch over the bridge and mill. The oldest paintings date from the 15th century.

 

Bardigues and its traditional house

Flamarens Castle

The ruins of Cachepouy castle.

Castet-Arrouy church with its octagonal bell tower.

Arrival in Lectoure

Final stage of Denis' hike: Lectoure in the Gers.

Its Saint-Gervais - Saint-Protais cathedral dates from the 15th century. This beautiful city was one of the capitals of the Counts of Armagnac.

The Diane or Hountélie fountain, the Halle aux grains and the Hôtel des 3 Boules.

And the next step?

Thank you Denis for these stages of the GR65. So where next?

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