Martel is one of the few towns or villages that does not trace its origins back to either a Roman settlement or a religious community. Instead it came into existence and flourished due to its strategic location at the convergence of the trade routes for the sought-after salt from the Atlantic and the wine from Aquitaine.This privileged location made Martel a rich market town from the beginning of the 12th century, and it was also an important stopping point on the pilgrimage route to Rocamadour.
Nowadays Martel is an animated, lively place which has been beautifully restored and retains all the glory of its past. Guided tours of the village are available and from time to time there is a lantern-lit tour. Every Wednesday evening in July and August a ball takes place under the covered market on the main square.