Cahors Old Town
Listed as Great Site of Midi-Pyrenees
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The old part of Cahors is scattered with little gems, old houses or building structures dating from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, like the Roaldes Hotel called House Henry IV dating from the 15th century, the Saint-Urcisse church or the old homes of the Olivier de Magny Square, not to mention the little "Secret Gardens" - little yards exquisitely decorated with plants believed to be bought to Europe by the crusaders - but the crown jewel is the Saint Etienne Cathedral and its cloister.
The cathedral was built in the 12th century (consecrated in 1119 by Pope Calixte II ) on the place of a the church built earlier in the 7th century by Bishop Saint Didier.
The church built in the Romanesque style has the biggest domes in France - 18 meters wide and 32 meter high. The magnificent North side entrance was carved in 1140.
Throughout the centuries the church was modified: in the 14th century the choir was rebuilt in the gothic style, in the 15th century Saint Anthony and the Lady chapels were also rebuilt in gothic style and in late 15th century and first half of the 16th century the cloister was also renovated in gothic style. In the 17th and the 18th century the pulpit and the North gallery were renovated and the old pipe organ was replaced.
A little outside the old center, but still within the walking distance, one can admire the old watch tower and the remains of the North city protection wall built during the Hundred Years Wars between 1345 and 1347.
At maybe 100 meters south from the watch tower one can find another interesting historic site: The Jean XXII tower and the Saint Barthélémy church.
The tower, 34 meters high, once part of the medieval palace of the Duèze family, bears the name of the family's most notable member Jacques Duèze, born in Cahors in 1244 and baptized in the Saint Barthélémy church, and who became Pope in 1344 under the name Jean XXII (the palace was built by the brother of the Pope, Pierre Duèze around 1320).