Street view of Carjac
The Cajarc area has a long and often troubled history. In the Mesozoic era, limestone sediment was laid down under shallow seas and now forms the causse, or limestone plateau. There are few fossils, because the climate at that period would not have supported larger life forms. The many caves and rock shelters in the area would have been home to early man and there are traces of early building everywhere; from dolmens to gariottes, or caselles, and chateaux. Over the centuries the Quercy has been invaded by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Francs, to name but a few, which is why there are so many easily-defended clifftop towns and villages, of which Gaillac is one.
A Roman settler by the name of Caius Hebrardus built a fortified edifice around which the town of Caiac, which later evolved into Cajarc, was built.
During the 100 Years War, Cajarc, like most other towns in France, was subjected to continual incursions by the English, who built fortifications overlooking the town, some of which which exist to this day. The Tour de Ville, which is the road around central Cajarc, was originally a defensive ditch which contributed no doubt to the fact that the English never succeeded in occupying Cajarc. However, they did manage to destroy the bridge in 1356. The fortifications were bought down on the instructions of Cardinal Richelieu in 1623.
Following the 100 Years War, Cajarc gradually resumed its normal communal activities, but life was never easy in mediaeval times and there were periods of famine, disease and civil unrest, especially during the wars of religion, as Cajarc became a Protestant refuge. There were (and still are) occasional floods and even the odd earthquake.
Vestiges of Cajarc's historic past remain and traces of buildings dating back as far as Roman times can be seen in the old part of town.
Cajarc became prosperous in the 19th Century with tanneries, mills, phosphate mines, barge transport and you can still see the vaults and pointed arches of artisan's workshops.
Carjac street