- The lot Valley - Extraordinary museums

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Back to home| What to do in the Lot Valley | Visits | Extraordinary museums

Extraordinary museums


You’ll be surprised by their astonishing collections!

Musée du Scaphandre (Aveyron)

For Capitain Némo’s dives in “20,000 leagues under the sea”, Jules Verne took his inspiration from the invention in 1860 of the 1st aqua-lung ever conceived by Benoît Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze, both of them from the Aveyron.
Designed in the beginning as a rescue device during firedamp explosions in the mines. This aqua-lung was awarded the grand gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1867. The first trials were carried out in the Lot river. Exhibits which are rare if not unique are on display attract specialists from all over the world.

Quercy open air museum (Lot)

A cnverted old chateau offering a traditional French open air museum, covering 50 hectares. Imagine two farms and 25 theme museums devoted to rural life as it once was in the Quercy. There are many resited original buildings with some traditional crafts on display such as bread making and blacksmiths to mention but two.

In Cuzals, just off the D40 30kms North East of Cahors. Telephone ahead for opening times on +33 5 65 22 58 63.   

The Ichnospace Museum

Most natural history museums present fossils. This museum was started in 2000 in collaboration with the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and is the first European museum to be showing fossil fingerprints which have been found, together with traces of dinosaur and fossil remains. The museum has received the Museum of France award.

 During the passage of time all living creatures have left traces of their lives and activities – mainly as fossils. The palaeontologists and biologists unravel these remains, which provide valuable information on their numerous activities, the daily lives of the organisms, and how they behaved in their own world.

Come and look at a new display of 60m2 of tracks and footprints of dinosaurs taken from the sandy soil of a Jurassic beach (formed 140 million years ago) You will also find evidence of crocodiles and turtles from our region – some of them are described for the very first time in paleontological history.

Guided tour is essential. More information via Luzech Tourist Office : +33 5 65 20 17 27. The Ichnospace Museum is located above the library, 30 metres from the Tourist Office in Rue de Ville, Luzech.


Le Grenier de CAPOU (Aveyron)

Enter the world of Guillaume Capoulade. He will give you the history on all the wooden objects put together by 4 generations of collectors, a real example of North Aveyron heritage. You will be able to see a collection of bird nests presented on a gigantic tree and the authentic Santa's sleigh!

Ferme de l’âne heureux


12210 Laguiole.

Website Grenier de Capou

The Railway Museum of Cajarc (Lot)

Is located in a former goods hall. Railway signs, telephone equipment, lanterns and station master caps … For all you locomotive fans!

Musée du Rail de Cajarc

Halle à Marchandise - Gare
46160 Cajarc

More information on Tourism Lot

 Clairac Train Museum (Lot-et-Garonne)

100 years of rail history in the Lot Valley featuring models, video and sound. Kids will love it !

Musée du Rail de Clairac

47320 Clairac

Le Musée d’Eysses (Lot-et-Garonne)

Not far from the medieval Villeneuve-sur-Lot, get a feel of Antiquity through the relics of the gallo-roman city of Excisum and objects from daily life found during archaeological digs.

Musée d'Eysses
Place St Sernin d'Eysses
47300 Villeneuve-sur-Lot

More details on the Villeneuve-sur-Lot website


The Auvergne postal Museum (Cantal)

It’s the massive story of the Post Office from 1690 to the present day. And it’s all the work of an enthusiast, with postmen’s work clothes, etchings, mail-coach, historic documents, postal matters… Restoration of an old Post Office : it feels all so real!

Musée Postal d’Auvergne

1 Place des Jacobins

15100 Saint Flour

More details on the Auvergne website

Archeological Museum (Lozère)

At Banassac, near La Canourgue, it is a showcase for the importance of this pottery village at the time of the Romans: Pieces that come from here are to be found all over Europe! Well worth seeing:  Sigillata pottery for domestic use and blacksmith’s grave.

Musée d’Archéologie

48500 Banassac

More details on the website

La Maison de la Rivière (Aveyron)

Scenographic centre dedicated to the river Lot and the traditions of this valley: navigation, fishing, daily life of the Ribièrols (riverains in French - inhabitants), geography, geology, ... new interactive course to learn while having fun. A guided journey through the living memory of the Ribièrols in the romantic setting of the former Saint-Parthem convent. An account of man's cohabitation over the centuries with this nourishing, slow-moving, welcoming and sometimes threatening river. A permanent, magical spectacle in a visual, musical atmosphere. Interactive trail, children's corner, garden. Video projections, models, boutique.

La Maison de la Rivière

Le Bourg

12300 St-Parthem

Visit Aveyron Tourism Website

Les grottes de Lastournelle (Lot-et-Garonne)

Hidden away within the lush landscapes of the lot-et-Garonne at Sainte Colombe de Villeneuve-sur-Lot, you will find one of the true pearls of aquitaine (South West of France): the Lastournelle caves.

These limestone caves have developed over 25 million years, building up a host of stalactites, stalagmites and limestone tapestries of an incomparable richness.

The Lastournelle Cave was discovered in 1878 when a well was drilled.  Farmers living on that property dug down in an attempt to find a water source .  They didn’t find water, but instead discovered the cave.

Today, you can visit the caves and many tours and activities are taking place throughout the year.

Special underground treasure hunt for english speaking families : underground treasure hunt by torch. Rise to the challenge, find the answers to the questions, and win the treasure of Lastournelle Cave (in English, only available for groups).

More information on the grottes de Lastournelle website



 TOP 5 Museums

The cave of Pech-Merle (Cabrerets - Lot) Horses, bisons, aurochs, human figures, an elephant footprint … a real ancient cartoon strip, dating from 20,000 years back. One the finest prehistoric sites in France.

More information on

Champollion Museum, The World of Scriptures (Figeac - Lot)

This museum is installed in the house where Jean-François Champollion was born, behind a façade of glass and copper pierced with a thousand different graphic signs. The museum collections evoke both Champollion's work to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs and the civilisation of ancient Egypt: there is a mummy accompanied by its funerary offerings and a representation of the great Egyptian gods. The visit then provides the opportunity to follow all the major steps in the development of the various writing systems of the world: writings first appeared over 5000 years ago in the Middle East, but also, independently, a little later in China and amongst the Mayan peoples.... Videos, multimedia games, to understand where scriptures come from.


Decazeville basin (Aveyron) The epic of  the black mouths with their 3 museums. In 1900, they used to bring out a million tonnes of coal per year. The last mine closed in 2001.

  • Musée de Géologie Pierre Vetter : the museum presents all the region's geological richness (rocks, minerals, fossils) as well as the history of mining and use of coal in Decazeville.        (Avenue Paul Ramadier, 12300 Decazeville  Phone +33 5 65 43 30 08)
  •  Musée de la Mine Lucien Mazars : history of the mines and industry of the Aubin-Decazeville area. Reconstruction of a mine gallery.                                                                                     (Place Jean-Jaurès, 12110 Aubin - Phone : +33 5 65 43 58 00) Website Musée de la Mine
  • Musée La Mémoire de Cransac : 2000 years of mining and spa history in Cransac. Cransac les Eaux, Cransac les Mines and Cransac les Thermes are presented with numerous photographic reproductions, plans, animated models. (2 Rue Paul Oustry, 12110 Cransac – Phone +33 5 65 63 06 80)

Margeride Ecomuseum (Cantal) 3 sites brought together to tell the story of the Margeride.

  • The garden of Saint-Martin at Ruynes with its ecosystem and plants from another era with its  tower of Ruynes-en-Margeride, vestige of a castle of XIIe century, which extends the natural inheritance from Margeride. (La Tour 15320 Ruynes-en-Margeride – Phone +33 4 71 23 42 96)
  • The Clémence Fontille school : classroom from the 1930s. (Signalauze - 15320 Ruynes-en-Margeride – Phone +33 4 71 23 42 96)
  •  Pierre Allègre’s farm, the daily life of the peasants in the 19th  century. (Le bourg 15320 Loubaresse - Phone +33 4 71 23 42 96)

All the details on

Museum of the Fortified Towns « Bastides « (Monflanquin - Lot-et-Garonne)

The only museum in France which explains the concept of the fortified towns (the historical conditions, octogonal urbanism ...) in the South-West.

The museum displays different panels explaining how bastides came about, as well as scale-models, audio and video guides, and educational tools for children.

(Place des Arcades - 47150 MONFLANQUIN - Phone+33 5 53 36 40 19)

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