Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cahors:Secret Gardens

One of the great delights about Cahors is the Secret Gardens.  They have taken what was probably waste land in the medieval part of town and created small themed gardens all over. Some of them are in the open - the picture of the delightful fountain with dogs faces on it was one such.  Others are down twisty little medieval alley ways - the Italian Garden that you glimpse through the dark opening was one of those.  The grey cat was a perfect accessory in the Sorcerers garden that featured black leaved plants and things like mandragora, as well as a black and white symbol created in stone on the ground.   Against the old buildings, the gardens are completely wonderful.  There are 20 or 30 of them, more each year and there is a map they hand out that shows you where they are.  

This is such thoughtful tourism.  It creates a better environment for everyone who lives there and also delights travellers.  And it demonstrates beautifully what I loved about Cahors. It's a vital, thriving small city which incorporates its medieval parts very respectfully, without becoming a stuck-in-time museum of buildings.  

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