Visiting the Station at Cahors, France: elegant frontage on place Jouinot, completed 1884
Elegance from a 19th century rail expansion
Commenced in 1883 and completed in 1884, the present building of the railroad station at Cahors, France is situated at 66, place Jouinot (1).
Among the features of this building are a neo-Classical frontage in a simple, French Renaissance style. Particularly conspicuous is a large clock with a Baroque-style pediment: this feature (2) appears to be a broken pediment but actually — on closer inspection — is a fairly standard pediment with added ornamentation.
From the platforms at Cahors station, the well-known Medieval landmark the Pont Vanentré is close by and clearly visible (see photo).
The Third French Republic was a period of great expansion in France's railroad network, and in a sense this fine station building is not untypical of many such edifices dating from the period.
While as most stations along the French rail network (3) Cahors' station is operated by SNCF (Société des chemins de fer français), when opened, the station and company were in private hands, with the line linking Orléans and Montauban. The town's addition to France's greatly expanding rail network thus rendered this chief town of Lot considerably less isolated in a department characterized by sometimes dramatic, rocky topography.
Cahors is situated in France's Lot department, in the Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region.
August 17, 2016
(1) Interestingly, a nephew of the Republican leader Léon Gambetta (1838-1882) was the well decorated French army General François Léon Gambetta-Jouinot (1870-1923). The Square is also sometimes known by the simple designation place de la Gare.
(2) Such a feature recalls Baroque pediments on church buildings identified with the Counter-Reformation period.
(3) There are still some private French train operators, even though the great majority of the network is controlled by the SNCF.
This booklet gives a fascinating account of the history of the town of Cahors and its remarkable architectural heritage
Also worth seeing
In Cahors itself, which for its size has a remarkable amount of architectural heritage and Medieval history, landmarks include Medieval structures such as the Pont Valentré and the Cathedral; a statue of Gambetta, a native of the town, was unveiled not long after the statesman's death. (See also Note 1, above.)
Saint-Cirque-Lapopie (distance: 26 kilometres) is an ancient, cliff village reputedly occupied since Gallo-Roman times.
Montauban (distance: 61 kilometres) is an historic town on the Tarn River , with remarkable architecture, including the Ingres museum and the arcades of the place Nationale .
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle ), where car rental is available. (Paris-Cahors distance: 576 kilometres). The French railroad company SNCF maintains services from Paris to Cahors. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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