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Industry soon established itself in Lot. Factories liked to use the ferruginous clay south of the Bouriane area and around the Masse river. This coal-fired industry disappeared in the 1930s due to the rise of the heavy steel industry elsewhere in France. Moreover, there were no railway lines or a good road network. Only in the 1970s did the industrial landscape change with the manufacture of electrical equipment in Cahors, perfume packaging in Souillac and jam from the village of Biars-sur-Cère. Approximately 70% of the jam eaten in the EU comes from this region. Because of the specialised agriculture in Lot, the agro-alimentary sector accounts for more than 50% of the total industrial turnover of the department. Two thirds of this sector is focused on animal production, including foie gras.

Since the Middle Ages, the production of saffron has been an important source of income for Lot, especially in the period from the 15th to the 18th century. Today, around sixty producers still produce about 7.5 kg of saffron in a very labour-intensive way. Almost 2 million crocuses have to be picked for this purpose, especially near Cajarc and St-Cirq-Lapopie. The town of Caussade has the largest saffron market in the region.

Since ancient times, walnuts have been intensively cultivated in Lot, from which, among other things, oil and brandy are made. The 'marbot' is the most common species in Lot. Other species are the 'grandjean', the 'corne', and the 'franquette'.

In Lot, the conditions for growing tobacco are very favourable. Tobacco is mainly grown on the alluvial soils of the Lot valleys. The Lot department is the main producer of snuff.

The lambs of the breed 'caussenarde' (also: spectacled sheep) produce very tasty, tender meat. Approximately 150 farmers keep about 20,000 goats of the Alpine and Saanen breeds. The milk of the goats is used to make 'cabécous', goat's cheese.

In 1926, the water traffic came to an end and the Lot disappeared from the 'list of French waterways'. Because of tourism, a lot of work was done to make the Lot a waterway again. Since 2004, the Lot has been made suitable for navigation again.

The truffle ('la truffe') is a precious delicacy that is hidden under the ground and used to be found by pigs. Nowadays, dogs are mostly used to search for truffles. The truffle grows near truffle oaks and truffle hazels and thrives best in limestone soils and a Mediterranean climate. The Lot department is one of the main French producers, with about ten tonnes of truffles a year. Lalbenque, south of Cahors, is the centre of the truffle trade.


Best, J. / Dordogne, Limousin met Quercy en Berry

Denez, F. / Dordogne, Lot, Périgord, Quercy

Dordogne, Périgord : Périgueux, Bergerac, Cahors, Rocamadour

Graaf, G. de / Dordogne, Limousin

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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