Whether youâre a horse rider looking to make the most of your time in Lot or countryside lover holidaying with an equestrian, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
From getting around on bikes or on foot to enjoying drifting along the River Lot in a kayak, here are some of our suggestions:
For an easy 4km walk which takes an hour, take a 30-minute drive to the village of Arcambal where you will discover the banks of the Rover Lot, the village, and the medieval castle. Find out more here.
Youâll find an intermediate walk 5km away from Promilhanes in Limogne-en-Quercy.
The Malecargue Fountain Circuit is a 10km walk which takes three hours and 15 minutes.
It starts outside the Maison des Associations, a large white building, and the route takes you through the hamlet of Mas de Charrou where there is a distinctive dovecote tower.
Youâll also see the Bouzou fountain, an old windmill, and the Malecargue fountain.
The route also gives you the opportunity to spot the flora and fauna of Lot. Find out more here.
For stunning views and a five-hour, 50km walk, take the path from Arcambal to Saint Cirq-Lapopie, then follow the towpath carved from the cliff face to BouziĂ¨s and back to the start.
Or, you could cut the time and length you walk by starting and ending your walk in Saint Cirq-Lapopie.
Talk to us about local walks around our base in Promilhanes.
The Lot Valley is paradise for cyclists.
The countryside is beautiful but less busy than the popular Dordogne to the north.
There are several fine cycling routes near Cahors, which is a 40-minute drive away from Promilhanes, and from Lamothe to Saint Cirq-Lapopie, where there are stunning vistas between rocky outcrops and the chance to visit the small towns of St Gery and Vers before ending the tour in one of Franceâs most beautiful villages.
There are options to suit all levels of cyclist â from those who prefer a sedate ride to thrill-seekers who are looking for off-road cyclins and hilly routes. We have many parents or partners of horse riders who like to explore the countryside on two wheels. Ask us for our recommendations for routes close to our base.
Kayaking or canoeing
At nearby Villefranche de Rouergue, there is a water sports centre which offers kayaking and canoeing on the Aveyron.
The site also offers boat hire and boat tours of the river which offers gorgeous scenery along its banks.
The Averyron river offers 300km of navigable white water, with sports including rafting and canyoning also on offer for the adventurous.
The CĂŠlĂŠ Valley is also a popular spot for enjoying the river â along with its attractions to potholers.
The River CĂŠlĂŠ joins the River Lot at BouziĂ¨s.
Talk to us to get the local knowledge you need to plan your river trips.
Is it time to arrange your next riding holiday in France? Book here.
Lot has some of the prettiest towns and villages in France, perfect for a visit during your riding holiday.
Here are our top 5:
Visit the narrow, picturesque streets of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. In 2012, it was voted âThe Favourite Village of the Frenchâ and has been awarded the status of being one of the most beautiful villages in the country.
Part of the village is a listed monument, and it is an excellent village to wander around on foot.
The streets are lined with buildings made from golden-coloured stone. Many are charming craft shops or art galleries.
Art-lovers should visit the Rignault Museum, named after the painter and collector who was the siteâs owner in the early 20th Century. It has temporary exhibitions of contemporary and modern art alongside the museumâs own collection.
You can also visit its impressive Gothic church built in 1522.
The village clings to cliffs 100 metres above the River Lot, and there are impressive views.
Look for the lock and mill of Aulanac, and the villages of Tour de Faure and Calvignac.
You can get fine views of the village itself by walking up the Peyrolerie.
Walk down to the river, and you can stroll along the tow path next to the river â a path which was carved into the rock face in 1847.
Look out for the beautiful reliefs carved on the rock walls of the towpath. They were created in 1985.
Along that towpath, youâll come to BouziĂ¨s.
It is known for its fine suspension bridge spanning the river between impressive cliffs.
Itâs a busy base for tourists taking trips along the river â an excellent way to see local villages. It is also a wonderful base for anyone looking to explore nearby caves.
Walking under fortifications created during the 100 Years War, youâll leave BouziĂ¨s under the âCastle of the Englishâ.
Nestled in the heart of Cahors vineyards, the medieval village of Puy lâEvĂŞque clings to a rocky promontory overlooking the River Lot.
Wander around its lanes and steps and spot its historic sculptures. There are streets named after its medieval trades â nail makers, dyers, and boatmen.
Walk down to the old quayside which was once abuzz with industry. At the top of the village, there is a 13th Century tower and the church of Saint-Sauveur, which dates to the 14th and 15th Centuries. Explore its Gothic nave.
You can take a boat trip or watch local ceramics being made.
Cahors is a town built by medieval merchants and bankers.
It has an impressive bridge, the 14th Century Pont ValentrĂŠ fortified against the English in the 100 Years War, which has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
Cahors also has many medieval townhouses.
Its cathedral has a Roman-style entrance, attractive frescoes, and a cloister.
The Museum Henri-Martin tells the story of the townâs history in its artefacts.
Cahors is in wine country, so you will be able to buy excellent local wines, and it is famed for its beautiful gardens.
In Villefranche de Rouergue, founded in 1252 by Alphonse de Poitiers, there is a chequerboard network of streets all leading to the main square in the tradition of Bastide towns.
They were built on commerce and their position near the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostella.
There are arcades which are topped by Renaissance and Gothic houses. Visit the impressive Notre Dame Collegiate Church and the nearby Carthusian monastery completed in 1459.
Are you ready to organise your next French riding holiday? Book here.
A painting of an ancient hand in the caves at Pech Merle.
Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of our prehistoric ancestors?
During your holiday in the Lot department, you can do just that â and you can see paintings they created between 16,000 and 25,000 BC.
Take a trip to one of the most awe-inspiring attractions near ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, the Pech Merle caves.
The site is one of the few in France with prehistoric cave paintings which remain open to the public.
The cave system extends over 1.5km from the entrance, down into an area where a river once carved deep channels and where prehistoric people lived.
The cave entrance had been covered by a landslip until the 20th Century, giving the system an airtight seal.
Then, two teenage boys discovered the paintings in the deeper areas of the caves in 1922.
Henri and Andre David Dutetre had spent two years exploring the cave system, encouraged by local curate and amateur archaeologist Father AmĂŠdĂŠe Lemozi.
The caves opened to the public in 1926 and were classed as a historic monument in 1952.
In the seven chambers of the cave system, the walls show hundreds of breath-taking paintings of reindeer, woolly mammoths, bison, horses, and humans.
Some of the most touching images are those created when our prehistoric ancestors blew âpaintâ over their hands using a delicate spitting technique, creating outlines on the wall which we see to this day.
Fossilised footprints of children, who once ran through the then clay floors, have been discovered more than a half a mile underground.
Itâs believed the cave system was used for shelter during the Ice Age.
The area would have had a climate similar to that of the Arctic now, and its animal species were very different to those found in modern-day France.
The geology of the caves is also fascinating.
Visitors can see how they were formed and eroded by water over many thousands of years.
Youâll also marvel at the stalactites and calcite pearls in this amazing cave complex.
The number visiting the system is capped to ensure there is as little erosion as possible and that changes in gases underground caused by people breathing out carbon dioxide do not harm the beautiful cave paintings.
Visitors are advised to wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the conditions underground. The temperature is 12 degrees Celsius. There is also a discovery centre at the site. Find out more here.
Visit spectacular caves and drift along on an underground river
Youâll see more of Franceâs geological heritage at the Gouffre de Padirac, considered the most spectacular cave system in France.
There, a steep descent takes you 103m below ground to a boat trip on a turquoise underground river with spectacular views.
Youâll also discover a 60m high stalactite hanging âby a stringâ, and walk to find the most impressive cave ceiling in France in the Salle du Grand DĂ´me.
The awe-inspiring ceiling is 94m high.
Visitors are advised to book tickets in advance because it can become very busy and to be prepared for stairs and lifts. Discover more here.
Step into a lost world in an old mine
A former phosphorous mine is another underground wonder in Lot.
The Phosphatiere du Cloup dâAural, Bach, has been colonised by some surprising vegetation since the miners left the site in the 19th Century.
There are giant ferns and up to 13 different orchid species. It feels like walking through lush jungle.
The siteâs fossils have provided a rich insight into the areaâs prehistoric past.
Researchers have found more than 500 animal fossils dating back up to 34 million years. Visitors will learn about the prehistoric mammal the caducothĂ¨re, which resembled a rhinoceros.
Visitors are encouraged to take a 50-minute tour of the site.
Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas gift for the horse-riding loved one in your life who has everything? How about a chĂ˘teau?
Weâre not joking.
Obviously, itâs impossible to fit an entire French castle under the tree (not to mention the climate-changing amount of paper you would need to wrap one) but we think we have come up with the next best – and much more eco-friendly – thing. A gift voucher for a luxury riding holiday at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re.
Wouldnât you love to see the look on your loved-oneâs face as they open a modest and unassuming envelope on Christmas morning to see something very special like this inside? It contains the promise of a relaxing holiday next year at our friendly and luxurious chĂ˘teau in the picture-perfect Lot, riding along beautiful and peaceful trails, through enchanting villages and unspoiled tree-filled countryside.
A holiday here wonât break the bank, either. If you book your 2016 holiday at the elegant and tranquil 400-year-old chĂ˘teau before the end of December, you and your loved ones can enjoy a relaxing luxury equestrian break at 2015 prices.
Alternatively, if you have already catered for everyone else this Christmas, how about treating yourself? Surely you deserve a little luxury you-time about as far away from the daily stresses and strains of real world as it is possible to get?
Remember: if you book your 2016 horse-riding holiday before December 31, 2015, you can look forward to a wonderful break in France next year at this year’s prices.
Put the words âcyclingâ and âFranceâ together in a sentence – and the mindâs eye almost inevitably focuses on the Tour de France.
With good reason. The worldâs best-known long-distance multi-stage cycle race is, according to organisers, the third biggest sporting event in the world behind the Olympic Games and football’s World Cup. Whether thatâs true or not – the Rugby World Cup makes a similar claim, after all – doesnât really matter. In France, Le Tour is a big deal.
And this year, it is coming to our little corner of southwest France.
Stage 13 finishes at Rodez, the ancient capital of the Gaulish Ruteni tribe, and is not far from ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re on Friday, July 17. Stage 14 gets under way in the beautiful city the following day.
That weekend, the area will be packed with cycling fans basking in the unique glory of one of the worldâs greatest sporting events.
Like horseriding guests, cyclists can escape from hustle and bustle of the 21st century into a tranquil tapestry of peaceful car-free trails, known as âvoie vertsâ and meander through shady woods where warming sunlight plays through the gentle green canopy under a cornflower-blue sky.
Meanwhile, sports cyclists – who may be want something a little more taxing than a gentle ride out along quiet country lanes – will be delighted to learn that we have our fair share of testing stretches and hills as steep as you want them around here. If it’s good enough for Le Tour…
And, if you do take to two wheels on the roads of France, you’ll be delighted to know that cyclists are well looked-after here. Bike-riding guests at the ChĂ˘teau have often commented on the fact that cars and lorries here will give you plenty of space – unlike the UK, where you’re always battling inconsiderate drivers for a tiny bit of space on the road.
Fans of off-road biking are well catered-for, too. All the wild terrain you could possibly wish for is within easy reach.
And itâs easy to hire everything you need. There is an excellent cycle shop in Limogne-en-Quercy, about 4.5km from ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, which rents out new and well-serviced road bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes. We believe his rates are very reasonable.
Even better, the owner will deliver and collect your bikes from the ChĂ˘teau, so that all you have to do is turn up with your cycling shorts and helmet. Click here for the shopâs website.
We regularly boast about the gentle, peaceful beauty of the little corner of southwest France that surrounds ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, and how it is the perfect location for a holiday hack along mile after mile of peaceful, car-free trails, under a warm sun in cornflower-blue skies.
But we also know that not everyone rides horses.
Weâre often asked if there is anything non-riders can do here. The answer is plenty. The trails our horse-riders can enjoy are also open to walkers and cyclists, while the area is dotted with bustling towns and picture postcard villages that, quite simply, will take anyoneâs breath away.
One of the most common questions for our non-riding guests concerns concerns fishing. Is it any good here? To which the honest answer has to be: No – fishing is not any good here.
It is much, much better than that.
We could wax lyrical about the quality of the lake and river fishing available just a 20-minute drive from ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re – from the gorgeous and well-stocked 15-hectare Lac de Banac, to the exceptional fishing on offer in the 15km stretch of the River Lot between Saint Cirque Lapopie and Cajarc.
We could list a few of the fish that could bite at your lure – which include black bass, pike, roach, carp, pike perch, chub, perch, tench, barbeau and rainbow trout.
We could even issue something of a fishing challenge by mentioning, almost by accident, that the largest carp ever caught in Europe was landed in nearby waters.
It is probably more sensible, however, to deal with a few practical matters.
You will need a licence – or carte de peche – to fish in France. Temporary licences for holiday fishing are available for a week, or even just a day, at a time – and they are not expensive.
You can arrange a licence yourself online by logging on to the cartedepeche.fr website. It has English, German and Spanish-language sections, and is pretty straightforward. If you have any questions, however, please do not hesitate to drop us a line.
If you are flying to France, the best advice is to check with your airline about what to do with all your fishing equipment before you arrive at the airport to avoid any frustrating delays. It is permitted on flights, but usually has to be checked into the planeâs hold – though certain articles may be allowed in hand luggage. Your airline will have all the information you need.
Once you have your licence (don’t forget to bring it with you, once you’ve downloaded it!) and have arrived at the chateau, everything will be in place for a perfect fishing holiday.
3rd – 6th April Why not give yourself a break from election fever and come to stay at Chateau de Laumiere with us for the Easter weekend
From arrival on Friday afternoon to departure after breakfast on Monday forget the world and immerse yourself in a few days of R & R. Read on for our special Easter programme:
Friday 3rd – settle into your room and look around the house and garden.
7.30 meet up for a chat and pre-dinner drinks around a log fire before going into a 4 course dinner with wine and coffee in our vaulted dining room.
Saturday 4th – leisurely breakfast between 9.00 and 10.00 am
Spend the rest of the morning winding down with a walk around the village and surrounding countryside or just relax in front of the fire.
12.30 lunch then a little later an afternoon ride and back in plenty of time before drinks as usual followed by dinner.
Sunday 5th – breakfast between 9.00 and 10.00 am followed by a trip to a typically French market in Limogne en Quercy from where you will be collected at around 11.30 and taken to Monique’s (our favourite local restaurant) for a traditional French Sunday lunch.
Return to the chateau for an afternoon ride. Then a break before drinks and dinner as usual.
Monday 6th – breakfast between 8.00 and 9.00 am before departure.
Fully inclusive price for the above: Â Â Â ÂŁ495 rider Â Â Â Â ÂŁ395 non rider
Don’t forget none of the above activities are compulsory – It’s your break so your choice
** Depending on your travel times there will be a morning ride on Monday followed by lunch if you would like to take it at an additional cost of:
Ride – ÂŁ50 per person
Lunch – ÂŁ30 per person
If you wish to stay for longer contact us with your dates for an all inclusive price
We have started preparations for April 25 already and are looking forward to seeing you all this year.
New Rides – Tanya and I are out as much as possible exploring even more of the countryside around putting together some new rides and additions / variatons to existing ones.
The riding will be different this year as you will now be able to ride every day of the week if you want to. Of course, those of you who like a day off to take it easy can still do so whenever you please – don’t forget you are the important one here because it’s your holiday.
Other additions –
Tanya is spending quite a lot of time with the Exmoors and having drawn up a plan is now chasing Chris to build an agility course. We a very exited about this as there is quite a lot of local interest in it and if all goes according to plan we hope that some of you would maybe like to join in on the odd afternoon. The ponies appear to really enjoy it and are accepting the new challenges very well.
Cross Country also in the pipeline are renovations to the cross country course which in favourable ground conditions will be available for an afternoon workshop.
Dressage Tanya is starting to compete in dressage again attending the early competitions this year and taking two of her regular pupils with her as well. If any of you would like to take advantage of this renewed enthusiasm you can include some additional training help in your time here with us
Natural Horsemanship Just a reminder that Tanya has several years of training and experience in this. All of our youngstock are handled and started using natural horemanship technics.Â To improve your bond with your horse while you are here – why not try a join up
Changes to the weekly programme – whereas before other than breakfast Wednesday was a non riding, lunch or dinner day Â NowÂ there will be a ride with lunch when you return as all other days. There will not, however, be dinner Â ButÂ for anyone not wanting to go out there will be a buffet supper available
Continuing popular events
Relaxing massage – as usual Nadia will arrive complete with table, music and oils on Tuesday afternoon to smooth away all your aches and pains. This is not compulsory but highly recommended by anyone who has had one previously! Naturally this is included in the price of your holiday
Lunch at Monique’s – Extremely popular and after a slightly shorter ride on Thursday you will return to the chateau for a quick change and off to the restaurant for a really good local meal which is also included in your holiday price:
Dessert / Cheese
Wine and coffee
After this return to the chateau where everyone generally disappears for a siesta somewhere shady.
Evening apperos – In the evening we all meet in the salon for a glass of wine (or an alternative of your choice) and a variety of nibbles for a very relaxed time before dinner to chat over the day, talk about anything you may want to do and generally get to know everyone. Don’t forget that for a special occasion – Birthday or Wedding Anniversay – our champagne appero makes this an extra celebration
Outside activities – there are many other activities to do and places to visit in easy reach of us and if you want help with any of them or general advice / directions just ask:
Cycling - there is an excellent hire shop in Limogne and he will deliver and collect the bicycles. Â Both road and off road
Canoeing - several rivers not too far away with companies supplying this. Full day, half day and shorter runs available
Fishing – for any Â keen fishermen who would ratherÂ fish than ride there is some of the best and most varied fishing in France in this area both lake and river. Indeed, this area currently holds the record for the largest carp caught in Europe. Here are some of the fish caught here:
Black Bass, Pike, Roach, Carp, Pikeperch, Perch, Chub, Tench, Barbeau and Rainbow Trout
aÂ temporary Â fishing license is simple to arrange and very inexpensive
Sightseeing - there are numerous towns and villages of interest within about half an hour’s drive and driving is easy here because there is very little traffic compared to the UK
Cahors is the main town of the Lot region with many old buildings, interesting little side roads to wander down, pavement cafes to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by, a weekly market and lots of excellent restaurants.
Villefranche de Rouergue is an excellent example of a 12th century Bastide and is the nearest town and again a very interesting couple of hours wandering round the buildings, shops and cafes.
Najac with it’s chateau on top of the hill is a wonderful place to visit and the view from the top is umnbelievable but definitely not a climb for the faint hearted
Saint Cirque Lapopie is a beautiful 12th century village just about 20 minutes drive. Â It really is like stepping back in time to wander through the tiny streets and to bring you back to present time there is a very good wine museum to take a look at. Â After that at the top of the hill there is a pretty good place for an ice cream!
I could carry on but it would become just too much to take in so you really need to come to stay with us and take a look yourself
A (slightly belated) happy Christmas and heartfelt wishes for a wonderful New Year from everyone here at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re.
We hope that you are enjoying the festive season. Did you have a white Christmas where you are?
Now the gifts have been unwrapped and the delicious Christmas dinner enjoyed, we have entered that leftover turkey-filled lull that precedes the night before the morning after that is New Yearâs Eve.
For many people, itâs traditional in the week between December 25 and January 1 to lazily browse the post-Christmas sales online, or doze gently in front of the big movie of the day after eating one (just the one) mince pie too many.
But itâs also a time for looking ahead. New Year is coming fast and, after all the festivities, it is all about change and improvements. Resolutions often focus on losing weight, or gaining fitness, learning a new skill, or taking up a new hobby. It may be something even more radical – planning a life-defining career change, for example.
Of course, some resolutions are easier to achieve than others.
Deciding on a summer holiday venue can be a very pleasant way to spend a few family hours between now and the fast-approaching day you have to return to work after the festive holidays.
Horse riders, like golfers, often want to include their favourite past-time in their holiday plans. That is where we come in.
At the luxurious and tranquil ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, we pride ourselves on offering perfectly tailored horse riding holidays. You can while away hour after more-than pleasant hour trekking along miles and miles of pristine car and real life-free trails, surrounded on all sides by stunningly beautiful countryside.
When youâre not on your horse taking in the perfect riding country, or enjoying the delicious meals prepared for you at the chĂ˘teau, you can relax – drink in hand – by the pool or in the restful gardens, soaking up the sun in a cornflower-blue sky and gazing out over an idyllic landscape that only the Lot department of southwest France can supply.
We think itâs the perfect recipe for a holiday. We hope you do, too.
And donât forget – if you book your luxury horse-riding holiday at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re before you go out for your New Yearâs celebrations on December 31, you can enjoy your 2015 holiday in our peaceful and beautiful corner of southwest France at 2014 prices.
There. Thatâs one resolution successfully fulfilled – and before New Year, too.
Christmas is coming; the nights are closing in,
Big coats are neededâŚ
And gloves, hats, scarves and things.
Itâs probably fair to say that we wonât make a fortune writing verses for greetings cards – but while early December has brought a wintry chill to the air that has us dreaming of a cosy Christmas in front of a warm and crackling log fire at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re, it also has made us a little nostalgic for the feel of the warm spring sun on our faces.
The chĂ˘teau welcomes guests for horse riding holidays from the end of April – and those who are lucky enough to be able to arrive early in the season are treated to nature reawakening in the hidden Garden of Eden that is our little corner of southwest France.
By the time the first guests of the year arrive, wild daffodils envelope the surrounding fields in their cheery gold and white hues, and the trees are bursting with blossom.
Along the sides of the roads around the chĂ˘teau and in the fields purple orchids start to bloom in May, to be replaced in by swathes of pyramidals as the month progresses; while the pretty, delicate cowslip is everywhere.
Riders enjoying one of the morning hacks with Tanya in May will often spot wild deer or boar along the trails, while red squirrels – so rare these days in the UK – are a delightful and common sight.
Meanwhile, bird watchers will have a field day.
The wonderful hoopoes return in May from their winter migration and are usually nesting by May, and we normally have half a dozen nightingales serenading us in ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨reâs gardens.
Ornithologists will be delighted to discover that theyâre not the only birds to make their home in the chateau. A pair of barn owls nest here every year, while redstarts – which are as common as sparrows – compete with swallows for bird real estate in the stables.
Believe us when we tell you – location, location, location is just as important in the bird world…
In the fields surrounding the chateau throughout the summer from May, we often see cattle egrets, with their distinctive white plumage making them easy to spot in among the cows and grass – and buzzards, black and red kites, sparrow hawks, honey buzzards and kestrels patrol the skies looking for prey.
Thereâs no wonder weâve gone a little whimsical about May right now. You are, of course, welcome to join us next spring to enjoy the natural wonder.
Remember: if you book your 2015 horse riding holiday, whether itâs in May or any other time, before December 31, 2014, you can look forward to a wonderful and relaxing luxury equestrian break in France next year at this year’s prices.