Martel is a pretty town on the banks of the Dordogne river in the Lot department. Its skyline has many medi-eval towers and is quite unique.
The town developed due to its strategic location at the crossroads of the important wine and salt trade routes between Paris and Toulouse. It also became a popular stopover for pilgrims on their way to Rocamadour.
It was in Martel that Henry the Young King – son of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine – on his campaign in the Limousin against his father and brother died from dysentery after pillaging the areas monasteries to pay his mercenaries.
Due to its trade the town prospered and the 13th century saw many grand houses built by wealthy merchants.
Difficult time came during the 100 years war and it was at this time a second defensive wall was built.
The town recovered from the war and regained its importance and prosperity, with traders building many of the buildings that can be seen today.
In the town there is a museum containing items from Puy d’Issolud, a local Gallic archaeological site which has been identified as Uxellodunum, besieged by Julius Caesar in 51 BC.