If you are an active type who wants to combine hiking with your stay in one of our holiday villas in south west France, there are signposted walks throughout the region. Explore the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside by following one of the many walking trails, which will take you through the countryside, past lush green valleys and tranquil rivers. Walking in south west France is possible throughout the year, however spring and autumn are the more comfortable seasons for walking holidays. Many of the routes follow shaded paths to keep you cool, and you’ll find plenty of scenic areas where you can stop and have a picnic, if you’d like a rest for a while.
If you are renting a villa through Kingfisher Holidays, you will find a variety of walks in the area. These range from easy, child-friendly walking loops to long walks, half day hikes (for lovers of beautiful scenery), and sports tours, which can involve a full day of trekking. You can find more information on these from the Villeneuve-sur-Lot Tourist Information Centre and the Tourist Office at Penne d’Agenais. Meanwhile, here’s a taster or some of the walks available:
Way of St James (walks of varying lengths)
Take a trip back in time along the ‘Way of St James’, where pilgrims have walked for centuries…and discover the ancient pilgrim shelters which still exist along the route. Every year around 200,000 hikers and pilgrims take the road to St Jacques de Compostela, which has featured in many books and films. France has four historic routes of the pilgrimage walk, one of which goes through Cahors. Walk a section of the route while staying in our holiday villas in south west France, and experience part of the journey the pilgrims take.
St Colombe de Villeneuve
This route is just 3.5 kilometres long, and will take you around an hour to complete. Perfect for families with younger children, this walk uses only countryside pathways to ensure it is safe for your children to run ahead and play. While up at some of the higher vantage points you will be able to see the pretty village of Pujols on the horizon, and on clear days you can see Lake Banierettes near where hazel, fig, cherries and apple trees grow.
The St Colombe de Villeneuve walk has many shaded paths, so for the majority of the time you can stay cool and out of the sun. It will take you over a mixture of flat and elevated grounds as you trek through the landscape and past some hidden hamlets.
Visit the town square of St Colombe de Villeneuve during the hike, a tiny village with a population of around 500. Stop by for a drink at one of the small cafes, before carrying on with the walk which will take you back to where you started. This is ideal if you drive to the start of the walk, as you will find yourself back there at the end.
Villeneuve Sur Lot
For something slightly more challenging, try the walk around Villeneuve Sur Lot, which is 7 kilometres long and takes around 2 hours to walk. This is a charming walk is ideal for animal lovers, as there are plenty of horses and ponies to see along the way.
Villeneuve-sur-Lot (pictured above and below) is an ancient town with two fascinating gateways – the 14th century Porte de Paris and the Porte de Pujols – that serves to remind visitors that the town was once surrounded by a fortified wall.If you are in the area, the town itself is worth a visit as it has some interesting architecture including the Pont Vieux bridge, which is modelled on the famous 14th century Port Valentre at Cahors.
Explore the medieval village of Pujols (pictured below) on this hour and a half hike, which is around 4.8 kilometres long. Commonly known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, this circuit will show you the attractive scenery and homes of Pujols on a serene and light walk. This circuit overlooks the Lot valley, and the walled town of Villeneuve from another angle.
While on this route you will go past a landscaped picnic area, where you can stop for a picnic in the sun and enjoy some fresh snacks from the local bakery. This ramble uses mainly grassy paths, and goes up and down over small dips and hills. On this walk you will see a variety of wildlife amongst the paths and fields, so make sure you have a camera at the ready.
Enter the city at the end through the Porte des Anglais, a door located in the town of Sore. This is an old city gate, and is dated from the 13th century, and is also listed as a historical monument. While in the city you will find half-timbered houses, wells, a village hall, the local church and many exhibitions.
Kingfisher Holidays has a number of stunning holiday villas in south west France, where you can relax before setting out on a long hike through the countryside.