Activities in the Lot Valley and Surrounding Area
Welcome to the Lot Valley in South West France. This is an excellent area to take a holiday, with lots to do for all ages!
Well signposted walks, cycling, riding, fishing (daily and weekly licences readily available), tennis, canoeing and swimming are all widely available and popular in the region.
The local population is very friendly and tourists and foreign residents are made extremely welcome – all contributing to a calm leisurely life-style.
The Tourist Offices are very useful places to visit in the larger villages and towns. But take note that because the area spans 3 French Departments, you will often only hear about activities in the department you are in at the time even though you may be missing something you would like in the village next door in a different department. If you visit the local markets, you will find lots of leaflets on your car windscreen when you leave – advertising things that are going on in the near future such as the individual village fetes, fireworks, dances, dinners and singing. Nearly every village celebrates during at least one weekend in the summer usually including a boules tournament. English churches are hard to find an a long way to drive but the fetes usually include a church service albeit Roman Catholic in French.
Several good golf courses, excellent walking (including the old pilgrim route of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle from Quercy to Santiago de Compostella) and cycling (cycle hire available) on well signposted trails. Many riding centres and treks, lake and river fishing (daily and weekly licences readily available from the local tourist office), tennis in nearly every village, canoeing and swimming are all widely available and popular in the region. Sailing, swimming and surfing on the coast. Some way to the South there is even white water rafting and rock-climbing centres as well as downhill and cross-country skiing in the Pyrenees in the winter. Flying, gliding and microlighting are available at several small airfields. Trekking and hiking through the Pyrénées in the summer and rock climbing for the experienced with good skiing in the winter. Jazz concerts, dance and theatre.
Markets in towns and villages on different days of the week and small country bric-a-brac and country furniture markets as well as antiques fairs.
Rugby football is a passion and important matches are played regularly locally and in Toulouse and Agen.
Performing Arts Camps for Young People
Beauville Arts provides a wonderful opportunity for young people to pursue their passion for the performing arts whilst holidaying here in France. Courses are taught in English (although French speakers who wish to improve their English are also welcome), and take the form of a holiday camp in musical theatre for those aged 8 to 18 (no experience required). The course starts on Saturday afternoon and after a challenging and fun week with intensive workshops in music, drama, dance and set design, culminates in a free public performance of a full-scale musical on Friday evening. The standard of the performance is truly amazing after only one week. There is also a rock academy week for those 13 to 19 (with some musical expertise), where young musicians team up with others, get professional mentoring, form a band, write their own material, record in a professional studio and finish on a high with a live gig.
The aim and expertise of Beauville Arts is to help to develop the talent and skills of students in music, theatre and dance, in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere, which in turn boosts their confidence.The courses attract a truly international clientele and lifelong friendships and memories have been made during these courses, with many returning year after year. Pre-booking as early as possible is essential.The scheduling of the courses makes them an excellent fit for families enjoying a holiday in one of our properties.
For more information: www.beauvillearts.com (English and French): Tel: +33 (0)5 53 87 72 18
Montaigu-de-Quercy – large lake with diving area, sandy beach, water slides, two tennis courts, restaurants and pedaloes.
Montcuq – small lake with sandy beach, fishing, play area and restaurant.
Catus – large leisure lake, swimming, boating, fishing, two tennis courts, and restaurant.
St Nicholas de la Grave – where the Tarn and Garonne rivers join, has sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and swimming.
Canoe, Kayak and Stand-up Paddle Board Hire
- Great Fun for all the family and a wonderful way to explore the rivers and their wildlife!
- All year by telephone reservation: +33 (0)6 17 17 61 60
- Includes life jackets, sealed container and minibus ride to up-river start point
A variety of descents on the Lot, Garonne or Baise are possible for the beginner to the experienced. Guided excursions with a qualified instructor can be organised by consultation.
Safety: It is obligatory that all participants can swim; always wear a life jacket; have insurance which covers nautical activities; are not permitted to dive; respect safety advice.
On Two Wheels
Some say that there is no better way to experience a country than on a bike and you can certainly cover more ground than on foot! Whether you fancy tracing the route taken by one of the many Tour de France races, which have passed through here (Bradley Wiggins style), mountain biking over one of the many off road circuits clearly marked for the purpose or whether your idea of cycling is to follow one of the flat shaded routes along the canals and rivers,this region has something for every kind of cyclist.
Cycling is an extremely popular hobby in France and cyclists are generally treated with respect and courtesy by other road users. In this area, there is much less traffic on the roads so it is possible to cycle along country lanes and hardly encounter a car. Whether you bring your bike with you or choose to hire from one of the many sources in the area it is a good idea to bring your cycling helmet, as wearing one is not obligatory by law in France and not all bicycle hire shops can supply them. It is law, however, to wear something reflective if you are cycling at night or in poor visibility.
The village tourist offices are very well equipped with maps and guides showing cycle paths to satisfy any requirement, such as “La Véloroute” which consists of 160kms of small, little used flat roads, joining Aiguillon and Cahors, passing through villages and orchards along the Lot Valley. A document for this can also be downloaded from www.valley-lot-47.eu. “Les Voies vertes” consist of 100s of kilometers of pathways shared by walkers and roller skaters, but no motorized vehicles. The one which follows the canal de Garonne joins Bordeaux to Toulouse passing through the Buzet vineyards and Agen, where it crosses an impressive aqueduct. Off-road/all-terrain bikers are able to use the footpaths marked for walkers or one of the circuits, graded by difficulty, especially for them.
Some of our properties include bicycles or bicycles.
All terrain (mountain) bikes are known as VTT (velo touts terrains) and road bikes are VTC. Here are some hire shops in the area:
- Montayral: Clinic’velo (Tel: +33 (0)5 53 75 06 97) hires all year round and is open every morning and afternoon Tuesday to Saturday. Costs vary from about 10€ for half a day to 65€ for the week for an adult bike.
- Villeneuve-sur-Lot: Cycles Lamiche (next to the Mairie) (Tel: +33 (0)5 53 70 42 65) hires road bikes for children and adults. Tuesday to Saturday 9h-12h and 14h-18h30
Many of the oudoor leisure areas (base de loisirs) will hire bikes in July and August. The base at St. Nicholas de la Grave, where the rivers Tarn and Garonne meet, hires cycles and hats on an hourly or weekly basis and the area itself provides a wonderful environment for safe off road cycling. If none of these are near to where you are staying then type your nearest main town into the website www.rentabikeinFrance.com and it will give a list of rental possibilities.
So now get on your bike and enjoy the sun on your back and that feeling of freedom that is cycling! That glass of red wine, will never have tasted so good!
Whether planning a holiday devoted to golf or just looking to enjoy a game or two whilst pursuing other activities or relaxing by the pool, our properties can offer you the perfect base. Below is a list of courses within easy reach of our properties. Some courses offer other facilities such as tennis courts and swimming pools which can be enjoyed by members of the family or group not playing golf. Lower out of peak season green fees apply to some courses. Details of each course is available on their websites, some of which are also in English.
Golf des Roucous at Sauveterre
Telephone: +33(0)5 63 95 83 70
9 hole course; 5244metres; Par 70; slope 133
Practice area, putting green, clubhouse and restaurant, all year tennis court, swimming pool.
La Menuisière-(Villeneuve Golf and Country Club)
Tel: +33 (0)5 53 01 60 19
Renowned for the quality of its greens, as one of the best in the Aquitaine.
Tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool, putting green, club house which houses the restaurant “le 19”.
Each year, under the “Tous au Golf” scheme, a free golf lesson can be enjoyed during a week designated in Spring (details on www.ffgolf.org).
Golf Club d’Espalais (near to Valence d’Agen, next to river Garonne)
Telephone:+33 (0)5 63 29 04 56
Good for beginners and experienced players alike; convivial atmosphere; good water features. 9 hole course, clubhouse and restaurant.
Le parcours de golf d’Agen ( 5km to east of Agen)
Route de Saint Ferréol
47240 Bon encontre
Tel: +33 (0)5 53 96 95 78
9 hole course, good for beginners and experienced players alike. Superb views of the Garonne valley from holes 5 and 6. Clubs and equipment available for hire.
Golf de Barthe (Tombeboeuf)
+33(0)5 53 88 83 31
9 holes set in 55 acres of well-kept grounds, including a natural spring and extensive practice facilities.
A beautiful, family built, course offering a warm welcome.
A club house which is open 7 days a week serves drinks and snacks.
Montauban L’Estang ( 5 mins. From Montauban)
Tel: +33 (0)5 63 202 202
First 18 hole golf course in the Tarn et Garonne – opened in 2012. 6340 metres in length, with 9 wooded holes and 9 in the open. Par 72. Putting green. Open to all golfers with a green card or a handicap. Club house due to open during the summer of 2013. Half set clubs and other equipment for hire. 18 holes from 43€
Golf de Montauban “Les Aiguillons”(10 mins from centre of Montauban)
Telephone: +33 (0)5 63 31 35 40
Good for beginners and experienced players alike, par 72, 6 large lakes, well drained with integrated water system, staying in good condition no matter what season. 9 hole course, clubhouse and restaurant Relaxed atmosphere.
The beautiful, unspoilt rivers of this region of France are said to hold some of the largest stocks of fish in Europe. From the tumultuous Garonne and the majestic Lot to the fast flowing River Tarn, with their offshoots of sparkling streams and numerous lakes, the area provides opportunities for both the passionate sports fisherman and the amateur who just enjoys a family day’s fishing. Many fishing records have been established for carp in the River Lot and Catfish in the Tarn, although you may also encounter barbel, chub, zander, roach, bleak, perch and black bass.
All fishing in France requires a permit, which is available from a fishing shop such as the one at St. Sylvestre or can be purchased online at www.cartedepeche.fr (English option available ). An adult’s day permit will cost in the region of €10 and a week, 30€. A passport photo and identity is required. Tourist offices can provide information on where to fish and some of our properties have private fishing rights.
National Fishing Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of June and a permit is not required to participate in the many activities organised along the rivers and lakes of France, such as the event at Château Rogé, Villeneuve sur Lot where there are free demonstrations and beginners can experience their first adventures in fishing.
Whether an absolute beginner or a seasoned fisherman you can benefit from the experience and passion of a master fisherman such as Monsieur Durand who is an officially recognised fishing guide and instructor. He has extensive knowledge of the Lot between Fumel and Aguillon and can organise a half day or full day fishing for 1 or more people, whether off the bank or a boat. It would be an ideal activity for a group holidaying together. The whole family can enjoy fishing for crayfish off the bank under his expert guidance and he can even organise a picnic from a local traiteur! Details can be found on his French website www.riviere-lot-peche-nature.com and he can be contacted on +33 (0)5 53 71 70 66 or +33 (0)6 77 99 30 28 . English is spoken. He requires a minimum of 3 days notice but to be sure of his availability the earlier the better. He can also supply your necessary permits.
There are public tennis courts in most villages. Hourly tickets are bought at the tabacs or the tourist offices.
Parachute Jumping is available just outside Montaigu de Quercy, Tel: +33 (0)5 63 95 39 46
At Moissac www.moissac-skinautique.com
Canoeing and Kayaking
Along the Lot, Garonne and Dordogne rivers, there are many places where canoes can be hired – for example Montayral, Catus, Fumel, Casseneuil, Puy l’Eveque, Agen (on the Canal du Midi), Castelsarrassin an so on.
Walking is a wonderful and extremely popular way to explore the beauty and tranquillity of the Quercy countryside. There is no better way to experience the diversity of this region with its shady woodlands, chalky outcrops where wild orchids thrive and plateaux with magnificent views over luscious river valleys. Pretty Bastide villages (many of which are officially categorised as amongst the most beautiful in France), provide an architectural relief, or an ideal lunch stop; and that pretty lichen, which clings to the trees, is there because the air is so pure!
Walking is possible all year round but April to June and September to November are ideal months for a walking holiday. You can profit from our cheaper, out of peak season accommodation prices too! If you are a rambling club or a group of friends or family who enjoy a stroll, why not explore this splendid scenery from one of our larger properties. We can even recommend a caterer who could have a meal waiting for your return!
You will find the region covered in well marked footpaths. Paths which cover long distances such as the famous “Chemins de Saint Jaques de la Compostelle” which pass through the Quercy and continue down into Spain, to Santiago de Compestella are known as “Les Grandes Randonnés” or GRs and are marked with a red and white stripe. “Grandes Randonnés du Pays” or GRPs are designed to discover a particular region. They are often circular with possible shortcuts so that the lengths can vary and are signed with a Red and Yellow stripe. Shorter walks are “Promenades et Randonnés” or PRs and are marked in yellow.
The French Federation of Ramblers, (Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre-FFRP), publish a series of excellent guides, called Topo-guides. Unfortunately, at the moment, these are only available in French. However they are simple to understand even with a very basic knowledge of the language and the Legend is also in English. They are available from local bookshops and tabacs or can be pre-ordered on line at www.ffrandonnee.fr. The local tourist office can often offer a selection of possible itinerary for walks in the surrounding area and many of them also organise guided walks with information on the local history, flora or fauna.
On Horse Back
The countryside takes on another perspective when seen from the back of a horse. In this region it is possible to ride for hours without encountering traffic, so it is not surprising that it has been described as heaven for horse lovers. If you are staying near or at Bigorre Haut (sleeps 4/5), near Cazes Mondenard, there is the opportunity to both ride the calm and well trained ponies; and to take trips into the local village in a horse drawn carriage. However, horse riding is a popular activity in this predominately rural area and there are equestrian centers near to all our properties. Here is a list of some of the centers which are happy to accommodate riders from the experienced to the complete novice. Sensible clothing is required i.e. trousers and lace up shoes, but otherwise all equipment can be supplied.
Ecurie de la Teoulere
35 hectares of private land and stunning scenery, including forests of oak and parasol pine. A horse owning client described this as one of the best treks ever.
1h30min. trek, (three different routes available, depending on experience): 20€.
All day trek with picnic (5 hours riding) for a minimum of 3 people: 70€
Domaineequestre de Lauzerte
Surrounded by 20acres of pasture and oak woods.Horses and ponies for all ages and levels of experience.
Half day trek or lesson from 28€
Full day trek or lesson from 39€
Crinière au Vent
Bouillon 47340 MONBALEN
Coordonnées GPS :
Lon : 0.7453536987304687
Lat : 44.324339298000694
Tel : +33 (0)5 53 95 18 6/+33 (0)6 70 68 79 92
Contact : Jean-Marc SOULACROIX
An equestrian farm of at least 40 hectares with more than 20 horses and hundreds of goats. Experienced and qualified, Jean Marc enjoys the opportunity to pass on his passion and love of horses:
2hour trek 25€: All day trek from 60€
Attractions / Days Out
Walibi Aquitaine, located just a few kilometres away from Agen, Walibi Aquitaine is set in over 30 hectares of lush greenery overlooked by an 18th Century castle. There are numerous rides, spectacular shows and special events. Open 7 days a week from the middle of June through to the end of August, and at weekends at other times.
Parc-en-Ciel adventure park
Five different ropes courses in the trees for all ages and abilities. Harnesses and instruction are included. Also mini-golf, a small farm and the snail museum. It is near Lacapelle-Biron on the D420, north-west of Fumel. Open every day during July and August, and at weekends at other times.
Visit a chateau
There are many chateaux in the area and two good examples are Chateau Bonaguil near Fumel, dating back to 1271 and which has altered many times with its history. All information is available in English and just below the chateau are some small restaurants to make a family day out.
Tel: +33 (0)5 53 71 90 33 or www.bonaguil.org and Chateau de Biron near Monpazier on the way to Begerac and also open all day during the peak season. Tel: +33 (0)5 53 63 13 39
Most of the Chateaux will welcome you offering free tasting, sometimes a tour around the wine making cellars and an opportunity to buy at reasonable prices.
There are many farm museums (such as the Musee de Pruneau and Foie Gras Museums) in the area. There is the Resistance museum at Cahors.
Departing Luzech and Fumel (Tel: +33 (0)5 53 71 13 70) on the Lot river and from Nerac on the Baïse (a tributary of the Garonne). Boat hire is available by the hour or day on the Canal du Midi at Agen (Tel: +33 (0)5 63 04 48 28) and from Moissac.
Visit the amazing caves, www.gouffre-de-padirac.com, which has underground at 103 meters a river flowing through, where you take a short boat ride. Be warned you will need some warm clothing. These are just north of Cahors and open all day during peak season. Tel: +33 (0)5 65 33 64 56.