The hilltop town of Lectoure, (one of the 100 Plus Beaux Détours de France), contains many treasures from its glorious past.
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Lectoure – French Tuscany
Against a backdrop of small valleys whose colours change from green to gold through the seasons, the ancient ‘oppidum’ of « Lactora » welcomes visitors to French Tuscany !
The town is flanked by its castle on one side and the proud tower of its cathedral on the other. From the 3km of surrounding ramparts, it is easy to reach the town centre up a narrow hill past the attractive stone facades of fine 18th century houses. At the heart of the town, the Cathedral of St Gervais and St Protais has an impressive bell-tower 45 metres high : in fact it used to be twice as high as it was topped by a stone steeple, destroyed during a storm on the eve of the French Revolution.
Beside it, the Bishop’s Palace is one of the finest buildings in the town and is now the Hôtel de Ville (town hall). Don’t be put off visiting it by its official status, as it houses several interesting places including the Musée Lapidaire, Salle des Illustres, Salle de la Pharmacie and a room dedicated to Admiral Boué de Lapeyrere. On the other side of the town you can see the remains of the castle of the powerful Comte d’Armagnac, Seigneur of the town until the end of the 15th century. Part of the castle was demolished in the 18th century to make way for a hospital. Today antique shops and artists’ studios occupy this majestic site and give it an amazing atmosphere.
Lectoure is also proud of its opulent mansions which line the Rue Nationale and adjacent streets : Hôtel des Trois Boules, Hôtel Castaing, Hôtel de St Geny, Hôtel de Goulard. Other noteworthy houses include the Castet de Los Clarinetos in Rue Fontelie, a curious house featuring small columns in the shape of clarinets and trompe l’oeil paintings. It was built at the end of the 19th century by a musician who wanted to annoy his neighbour, the sub-prefect, who was totally impervious to the charms of his music.