Kingfisher Holidays specialise in holiday accommodation in the south west of France We act for a large number of private owners of gîtes in the region known as The Lot Valley. This beautiful Lot Valley is located in both the Aquitaine and Midi- Pyrenees regions and all the gîtes and large houses that we offer fall within a 50 Km radius of the beautiful wine region known as the black wine of Cahors
A holiday in this delightful unspoilt region of the Lot Valley, South West France, makes for an interesting break. It is not the place to come for a seaside holiday, there’s more to it than that, although you can swim in your gîtes pool. But the area sparks an interest for its discerning visitors that extends far beyond cocktails and SPF creams. This is tranquillity at its rural best, yet within reach of some lively cities.
There is history here from the persecution of the Cathars, the 100 Years War right up to the Resistance Movement of the Second World War. Parts of the region are timeless. You’ll not find street vendors hawking ice creams and plates of chips, nor will you come across shops selling brightly coloured water wings and lilos. Here you will find colourful markets brimming with fresh local produce, all your senses will be assaulted, just smell those luscious deep red tomatoes. Whilst there are supermarkets, you can shop from the farmers markets on a daily basis. The high streets here are lined with chic boutiques.
Gîtes in South France – click here to view our holiday cottages in South France
Whether you are coming to the Lot Valley for the first time or returning for the umpteenth as many visitors do, there are lots of interesting and breathtaking sights to take in. This is the land of the “bastide”. A bastide is a fortified medieval town and a typical example will have a arcaded central square to shade you from the afternoon sun and the streets run in a grid pattern from the square. Lot Valley. Many of them were built and/or fortified sometime between 1229 and 1373 as part of the Hundred Years War. More often than not they were built on top of hills for ease of protection from invaders giving superb views of the surrounding countryside. Many of these ancient bastide towns remain intact today and they are really quite beautiful. If you get the chance, go along to see the towns of Castelfranc, Marnhac, Montfaucon, Monflanquin, Penne d’Agenais, Montauban, Monclar-de-Quercy and Verdun-sur-Garonne. There are, of course, many others that you will doubtless stumble upon on your travels, just make sure you don’t forget your camera.
Because of its climate, eating outside is the order of the day. The area has its own specialised regional cooking. Duck features highly on most restaurant menus, with the local ‘foie gras’ being a speciality. This is also the region for the Cassoulet, Toulouse sausages and finish up with the succulent prune desserts of Agen with Armagnac
Taking in the beautiful countryside – by car, bike, horseback, boat or foot
However you choose to explore the countryside, whether it be by car, bike, horseback, boat or on foot, allow yourself more than enough time to enjoy it. The Lot Valley’s countryside encourages you to do just that – it is natural and idyllic, peaceful and beautiful. If you decide to explore the area by bike, then seek out the “veloroute”. This 160km route takes in Aiguillon then Fumel and on to Cahors. It takes you along a greenway, which follows the banks of the Garonne River, and for the keener cyclist there is a route involving a trip up into the hills. For details and logbooks, pop in to your local tourist information office, you’ll find one in every small town.
If your preference is for riding around the countryside on horseback, then there are plenty of options available to you. There are riding stables to be found everywhere; at Lacour de Visa, Pinel-Hauterive, , Prayssas, Dolmayrac, Sainte-Livrade sur Lot, La Croix Blanche, Monbalen, Pujols, Villeneuve sur Lot, Frespech, Trentels, Saint-Front Lemance and Lacapelle-Biron.
Lacour –near Bourg de Visa
Centre Equestre M. Guy Daumerie
Lieu Dit Lauzinie
Tel : +33 (0)5 63 95 23 31
Le Harras de Sigbell
82150 SAINT BEAUZEIL
Tel : +33 (0)5 63 95 25 65
Route de Cancon (côté Espace forme)
47150 – Monflanquin
Tel : +33 (0)18.104.22.168.37
Tel : +33 (0)22.214.171.124.85
At the Missandre Equestrian Centre rides cost from €16 to €42 depending on duration and hikes from €70 a day or €150 for the weekend. You can contact the centre on 05 53 49 02 86 or 05 53 41 87 66.
In Prayssas, at the Atouts Crins horse-riding centre, children can ride from €15 per hour and adults from €20 per hour. Horse riding lessons are also available here from €35-€40. The centre can be reached on 05 53 47 28 58 or on their mobile 06 20 07 38 78.
At St Livrade/Lot there are two horse riding centres both offering lessons.
The Eperon Livradais Equestrian Ctr offers classes for beginners and more advanced riders and takes children from as young as 4 years old. They can be contacted on 05 53 71 23 42.
La Gravade Equestrian Farm offers half-day training periods for €25 and full days for €45. Hourly and half hourly rates are also available. Contact them on their mobile 06 84 51 42 84.
La Croix Blanche
At La Teoulere stables a 90-minute session will cost €18. You can reach them on 05 53 66 97 47 or on their mobile 06 83 31 33 56.
At “Mane in the Wind”, the equestrian centre at Monbalen a weekend ride out will cost you €150, a day’s ride costs €75, two hours costs €29 and an hour is charged at €15. There are open for reservations all year round and can be reached on 05 53 95 18 61 or on their mobile 06 70 68 79 92.
There are two riding centres a Pujols too; the Domaine de Compte and the Teron stables.
At the Domaine de Compte, hikes, lessons and training are available with a professional instructor. Two hours will cost €22. They can be reached on their mobile 06 27 22 16 73.
At the Teron stables, pony classes, walks and training are offered to children as young as 3 years old. Contact them on 05 53 70 74 17 or on their mobile 06 19 90 80 39.
Villeneuve sur Lot
The Roge Equestrian Club in Villeneuve sur Lot is open from Monday to Saturday but closed on Thursdays. Opening hours are 08.00 to 12.00 and 14.00 to 18.00 and classes are held in the grounds of a magnificent castle dating back to the Middle Ages, which is set on the banks of the River Lot. Children are taken from the age of 3 years and lessons are charged at €26 per hour. You can contact them on 05 53 70 59 99 or on their mobile 06 85 90 28 17.
The Gramont riding school in Frespech is open all year round except for the last week in August. Classes are available from €20 with a childs first ride costing just €10. Call to make reservations on 05 53 49 03 01 or on their mobile 06 8951 88 54
The Garenne stables at Trentels are open all year round from 08.00 to 18.00hrs. Hacks or classes are available on request and cost €16p/h. They can be reached on their mobile on 06 23 14 43 01.
Saint-Front Lemance is the home of the Bonaguil horses. Rides cost €14 – €16 for one hour, 2 hours is charged at €30 and 3 hours at €42. A 10 hour package deal can be bought for €120 but they must be used within two months of purchase. Reservation is advised, call their mobile on 06 60 16 06 60.
Horse riding is available all year round at Attelage desBastides in Lacapelle- Biron. The cost is €20 per person. Their landline phone number is 05 53 40 82 92.
Boating, Kayaking and Canoeing
The River Lot and the Garonne River both meander for miles in the region and provide some magnificent photo opportunities. You can pick up a boat ride from many places along the Lot River including Fumel, Penne d’Agenais, Villeneuve sur Lot and Damazan and you can go kayaking or canoeing from Monheurt, Aiguillon, Castelmoron, Le Temple sur Lot, Casseneuil, Villeneuve sur Lot, Trentels and Fumel.
One of the greatest ways to spend an afternoon in the Lot Valley is to spend it tasting wine. There are some 200+ “domains” in this part of France and at Kingfisher Holidays, we can arrange for our guests to sample some of the finest. Please contact us for details of a wine tasting itinerary.
Another great outing is a trip around some of the local markets. Markets are a tradition in this region of France and they are held regularly. On Monday afternoons there is a market at Lacapelle Biron, on Tuesday mornings head for Monflanquin and in the evenings go to iether Dausse, Laparade or Sauveterre la Lamance. On Wednesday evenings there are markets at Salles and Prayssas and on Thursday evenings they’re held at Fongrave and Monflanquin. On Friday mornings there’s a market at Frespech and in the evenings they’re held at Fregimont, Tournon d’Agenais and Montagnac sur Lede. Weekend markets occur all over the region but the dates and times for these vary, see your local tourist information office for details.
Since all of the gîtes we have available for rent come with either their own private pool or access to a shared one, all of our guests can swim to their hearts content without leaving their holiday home. If you’re out and about though, and fancy a dip, you can always make your way to one of the many leisure lakes that exist in the area. A leisure lake in south west France is a natural or man made fresh water lake that sometimes has a sandy, beach type rim. Anyone is allowed to swim in these lakes, some have life guards, some don’t, depending on their popularity.