Cahors – ancient stories, modern jazz

Cahors is the capital of the Lot Department with a very long history but very much a part of the present as well. It sits on a peninsula formed by the River Lot running around it, between Paris and Toulouse, with Bordeaux to the west and the Massif Central to the east.

As far back as 800 BC it was inhabited by Celts. Then of course the Romans marched in and took over building in their inexorable fashion, leaving a bridge specially for UNESCO’s list, and even more interesting to lots of people, planting the vines to produce the ‘black’ wine Cahors – and the Lot in general – is so proud of and renowned for.

But Cahors’ real glory days came to its glory during the Middle Ages. This was when Pope John XXII, a local Cahors boy, came to power. Although the seat of the papacy at that time was Avignon, he kept his contacts and power in Cahors encouraging trade, finance and architectural development, and enticing an influx of Lomard bankers and merchants. Cahors was now on the map as a financial centre for Europe. Alas, history so often repeats itself. They had their own GFC as bankers became usurers (by now called Caorsins), who gave the whole city a very bad rap, and were immortalised as a very bad bunch by Dante in The Divine Comedy.

The Musée de Cahors Henri-Martin houses archeological artifacts as well as fine art. What I will never forget was a work by Henri Matin (a post-impressionist painter who studied under Delacroix). He retreated to La Bastide du Vert in the Lot after spending time in Paris and winning varioius awards. Here he painted a large triptych that takes up a whole wall in gallery alcove where it is now situated. It was commissioned by the mayor to commemorate WWI and shows a memorial day with the townspeople gathered around the memorial. What is so poignant is the absence of the generation of men who were obviously lost in the war. Their wives and children are there – remembering them…

And there was something else really special about Cahors…

Heather and Tina

This entry was posted in Arty-Facts, Heather and Tina and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>