The Lot Valley – ‘Green’ Holidays

A snapshot of our area, to encourage you to come and visit…..

Pont Valentré

Pont Valentré decorated for the 'Journée du Malbec'
                                                                       April 2008

The valley of the river Lot and our department of the Lot through which it runs is a quiet and peaceful place with little traffic, but with very many interesting and beautiful things to see. It is quite a large department in area (5200 sq km), but with only 180,000 inhabitants – Cahors, the principal town, has little more than 20,000 people.

Architecture – beautiful old stone houses and villages are everywhere – those of the Quercy Blanc in the southwest are particularly fine with their dazzling white limestone. The fortified Pont Valentré bridge in Cahors was built in the C14th and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are many other sites dating from the time of the Hundred Years War such as the C12th keep that dominates Montcuq, not far from Domaine du Garinet.

Landscape – the countryside is very varied with hills, deep valleys and high plateaux. There are many marked paths providing fine walking. Canoeing is available on the Lot and Céré rivers and the quiet roads are ideal for cycling, if you don’t mind a few hills.

Puy l'Evêque

Puy l'Evêque and the River Lot

Vineyards are located mainly in the area west of Cahors, in the Lot valley and on the slopes and plateaux on either side. They are fairly scattered, making less of a monoculture than in many wine regions.

Caves – the ubiquitous limestone means there are many caves to visit, some with interesting vestiges of prehistoric human and animal occupation. A cave visit can be very refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

Nature – small-scale agriculture and large areas of woodland and scrub provide a good environment for birds, butterflies, wild animals and flowers. In the spring and early summer, wild orchids are abundant and there are many different varieties; we have recorded some fifteen on our own land. Birds of prey are particularly plentiful, as well as interesting species such as the golden oriole and hoopoe. Wild boar and deer are very common – deer appear frequently around our property, and boar from time to time.

Markets - larger villages and towns have weekly markets that are particularly lively in the summer. Many of the stallholders (like us at Montcuq market) are selling their own produce, grown within a few kilometres of the market. Soirées Gourmandes, a combination of an evening market and an open-air meal, are held during the summer in many villages.

Culture – particularly during the summer months there are many and varied productions of music of many kinds, folklore events, theatre, and exhibitions of painting, photography, sculpture….

Accommodation - as well as hotels, many in fine countryside locations, there are numerous gîtes to rent and chambres d’hôte (B&B) to stay in. There are plenty of sites for camping, camper-vans and caravans.