Lot - a rich and varied heritage
The Lot lies at the northern extremity of the Midi-Pyrénées region of southwest France, to the east of Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne.
The department has a rich and varied heritage with different landscapes, architecture, farming practices and tradition - and is dominated by its two great rivers, the Dordogne in the north and the Lot in the south, each of which cross the department, winding their way east-west.
The central Lot is dominated by the limestone plateau, or Causses, much of which is covered by the Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy.
In the north west lies the Bouriane, its lovely medieval town of Gourdon surrounded by thickly wooded hillsides, hidden valleys and small villages.
The Quercy Blanc - so called for the colour of its white chalk bedrock - sits in the southwestern corner of the Lot. With its white stone houses, lavender fields and Romanesque village churches, it has a sunny, bright, and almost southern French feel to it.
One of the mightiest medieval fortresses in southern France, Castelnau-Bretenoux, stands guard over the Dordogne river as it carves its way through the limestone plateau - the tall chalk cliffs formed over a millennia cradling a fertile plain of fields and orchards above.
Further south, beyond Cahors, the scenery becomes more open; gentle slopes dotted with castles, villages and orderly rows of vines, which provide AOC Cahors wine.
Principal city; Cahors
Other towns of note - Gourdon, Figeac, Gramat, St Cirq Lapopie, Saint-Céré, Bretenoux, Rocamadour