Thereâ€™s something very special about the Lot Valley in June.
The fields are bursting with colour and life, and the temperature is balmy. So, here are three excellent reasons to book your riding holiday in France then:
Youâ€™ll spot beautiful orchids
Plant-lovers will be amazed at the range of wild flowers in bloom in Lot during June. The area is famed for its wild orchids including:
Military orchid â€“ a small, purple orchid which blooms on the roadside in the Lot Valley. Look out for this from mid-May onwards.
Greater butterfly orchid â€“ lovely white flowers which look like small butterflies, growing in a V formation. They love sunny woodlands.
Lesser butterfly orchid â€“ a beautiful white orchid found in wooded areas and blooming from May onwards. Can be distinguished from the greater version because the flowers are parallel.
Woodcock orchid â€“ grows on verges and roadsides and is often mistaken for the larger bee orchid.
Bee orchid â€“ a soft, pink flower which is seen in meadows and pastures in June.
Man orchid â€“ a rare bloom found in the High Causse and in flower in June.
Red helleborine â€“ grows on the edge of woods and flowers between April and June. Look for these flowers in the Foret de Braunhie.
Dark red helleborine â€“ a rare flower which comes into bloom in late June. Look for it in rocky limestone in the High Causse.
Chalk fragrant orchid â€“ a pink flower with a lovely scent, look for it in grasslands in June.
Common spotted orchid â€“ flowers well into June. This flower loves chalk grasslands so look for them in fields and meadows.
Frog orchid â€“ a rare bloom with a green-brown colour which makes it hard to spot. Look for it in open woodlands and fens throughout June and July.
Heath spotted orchid â€“ a flower found on acidic soils including peat bogs and marshy pastures which is seen in June.
Birdâ€™s nest orchid â€“ lives in leaf litter in beech woodland and comes into flower in May and June.
Youâ€™ll enjoy pleasant weather
It wonâ€™t be too hot during your visit in June. The average temperature high is 25C and a night-time low of 12C. So, riding will be warm and comfortable â€“ you wonâ€™t face searing temperatures. Plus, youâ€™ll also be able to sleep well at night.
There is also an average of eight hours of sunshine a day. The climate here in June is balmy.
Youâ€™ll see amazing butterflies and birds
The proliferation of wild flowers mean Lot has many butterfly and moth species which you could see in June. Look out for rare Swallowtails, Meadow Fritillaries, Glanville, the Adonis Blue, and the Provencal Short-tailed Blue in limestone country including the Causse. In forests, you may see the Camberwell Beauty, Lesser Purple Emperor, Cardinal, and Southern White Admiral.
The number of insect species also attracts a large number of birds â€“ perfect for any ornithologist. Look out for a hoopoe, short-toed eagle, marsh harriers, kites, buzzards, and black redstarts.
Are you ready to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of Lot in June? Click here to book your riding holiday in France.
Have you hankered after a week-long experience which would allow you to spend as much time as possible with horses?
If so, our intensive training week would be an ideal experience for you. Itâ€™s back by popular demand in 2018 after two courses in May and September 2017 and will help you learn about horse care, bonding with your horse, and riding skills.
For the week starting May 5, 2018, weâ€™re offering you our all-inclusive, bespoke intensive riding workshop holiday.
Alongside the long, leisurely rides for which ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨re is famed, youâ€™ll receive a one-to-one training programme which we tailor specially to your individual needs.
Youâ€™ll be able to spend the entire day handling and working with horses.
This is ideal for riders who want to learn more or those who want to improve their confidence.
For some riders, a fall or a scare can knock that confidence in the saddle.
Our highly-qualified riding instructor Tanya will help you overcome your fears. She is calm, sympathetic, and has years of experience.
The intensive course will give you valuable skills including:
Groundwork â€“ the basis of riding and handling skills, with lunging, join-up, long-lining, and work on the ground.
Dressage â€“ our manege is the perfect place to learn and hone dressage skills, especially if youâ€™re interested in competitions.
Jumping â€“ always wanted to jump but have never learned how? Perhaps you need a refresher after a break of several years. Come to our intensive course where our experienced instructor will show you what you need to know.
Whatever you need, weâ€™ll tailor our course to help you. Itâ€™s all about helping you to enjoy horses and riding.
Our course is for all levels of rider, not just those who are very experienced, and you can attend whether you own your own horse or not.
Itâ€™s about developing your skills the way you want to take them. Whatever you want to do more of, weâ€™ll help you achieve that.
Weâ€™ll be offering the usual morning ride, with intensive sessions in the afternoons.
Our intensive training week always starts with Tanya discussing the groupâ€™s needs, them formulating the training.
Youâ€™ll enjoy the beautiful countryside, riding trails free of traffic, authentic local cuisine, and relaxing atmosphere, too!
Youâ€™ll meet our foals! If your loved one loves horses, theyâ€™ll love meeting and interacting with our foals.
Your horse-lover will be delighted with a special trip to such a scenic part of France. Lot has many tranquil riding routes in beautiful countryside, and you wonâ€™t have to worry about traffic in the way you do in some parts of the UK.
There is plenty to see on our doorstep â€“ from stunning walks along the river to visits to the prettiest villages in France. See our blog on some of the most beautiful villages in France here.
Youâ€™ll find some of the best cuisine in France. From mouth-watering local melons to tasty local recipes, our chÃ¢teau gives you a true taste of authentic Lot. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy it â€“ we cook and prepare all your meals. Find out more about the cuisine here.
Weâ€™re English-speaking owners who are fluent in French. Weâ€™re here to help you have the smoothest trip possible and our language skills could prove useful.
You can book your surprise present online â€“ thereâ€™s no need to fight through the crowds to look for something special. Thatâ€™s a huge bonus when weâ€™re all so busy.
Enjoy relaxation and a little luxury
Visiting our chÃ¢teau is like stepping back in time.
It has the original central stone staircase and several wonderful examples of 16th Century fireplaces.
Set within a hundred acres of land, the chÃ¢teau has breath-taking views, a swimming pool, a manege, and a cross-country course.
The stable block is also conveniently close to the house.
A riding holiday in ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨re gives you relaxation, good food, and luxurious accommodation.
Ready to book your 2018 break? If you book before the end of December, weâ€™ll fix it at this yearâ€™s price. You can check out our prices here.
Whether youâ€™re walking or on horseback, Lot is a wonderful place to see wildlife during your French riding holiday.
You could see all sorts of animals – from mammals and birds to insects and lizards.
The area has excellent natural habitats including woodlands, grasslands, and small areas along the River Lot where people once washed their clothes. They have now become mini wildlife sanctuaries, attracting all sorts of animals.
Here is some of the wonderful wildlife you could see during your stay:
Roe deer, known as Chevreuil in France, are a wonderful sight for our visitors. At certain times of the year, you will see them grazing in the fields.
You may be fortunate enough to spot a loirs, a large dormouse also known as the glis glis. Although their population is spread across rural France, they are not common.
The rare putois, a polecat, lives off frogs and small mammals and has been found across France. You may be lucky enough to come across this nocturnal relative of the ferret and otter.
Wild boar have been spotted across France. It is estimated there are two million of them in the country, and they tend to congregate in areas where agricultural land meets woodland.
Pine martens, known as martres in French, live in woodland across the French countryside, and you may well see red squirrels – now a rare sight in most of the UK.
There is a wealth of insect life including the praying mantis, green scarab beetles, Be crickets or cri-cri in French, grasshoppers, bees, wasps, and moths and butterflies such as swallowtails and hawk moths – especially the humming bird hawk moth.
You may well see some lizards. Small brown lizards are relatively common, skittering around in the undergrowth. Although salamanders are rare, you may spot them. Treat them with respect â€“ they are a protected species.
The bird life of Lot is rich. Youâ€™ll probably hear owls, including the Scops owl, cuckoos, and nightingales during your stay. You may spot marsh harriers, black redstarts, buzzards, or kites, and some visitors have reported seeing short-toed eagles flying above the limestone cliffs near Rocamadour. Many are keen to see a hoopoe, a small bird with an exotic look which is the size of a mistle thrush. Itâ€™s distinctive pink-brown body and crest, black and white wings, and black, downcurved bill make it simple to spot. These are rarely seen outside the very south of the UK, but are far more common in France.
Is it time to book your next riding holiday in France?
If you book next yearâ€™s stay before the end of December, we will fix it at this yearâ€™s price.
Whether youâ€™re 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.
Youâ€™ll 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.
Youâ€™ll 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 BouziÃ¨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 Franceâ€™s 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.
They were often used for farming and as pack horses because of their superior endurance, and were traditionally taken on a summer migration higher into the mountains â€“ a practice which is being revived in the area.
There are records of small black horses in the area which go back to the time of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.
They have been associated with famous historic figures include Charlemagne and Napoleon Bonaparte. They pulled the artillery used by Napoleonâ€™s Grand Army in its Russian campaign.
Smugglers used these horses to haul their ill-gotten gains through the Pyrenees, they were used by miners, and at the end of the 19th Century they had become known as light cavalry horses.
Widespread cross-breeding had led to decline in the pure-bred population. So, in 1908 a local agricultural society too charge of the breed, creating a registry in 1933 and a stud book in 1948 under the control of the French National Stud.
As machines replaced horses in French agriculture, the population declined disastrously, putting the breed on the verge of extinction in the 1970s.
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 â€˜paintâ€™ 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.
Itâ€™s 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.
Youâ€™ll 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
Youâ€™ll see more of Franceâ€™s 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.
Youâ€™ll also discover a 60m high stalactite hanging â€˜by a stringâ€™, and walk to find the most impressive cave ceiling in France in the Salle du Grand DÃ´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 dâ€™Aural, 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 siteâ€™s fossils have provided a rich insight into the areaâ€™s 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 caducothÃ¨re, which resembled a rhinoceros.
Visitors are encouraged to take a 50-minute tour of the site.
Do you ride regularly but not actually own your own horse? Â Is it your dream or are you just curious as to what’s involved? Â Well for week commencing Saturday 27 May you can make that dream come true for a week. Â Take this opportunity to experience horse ownership in the most ideal surroundings with the reassurance that there is a knowledgeable team on hand to help if needed. Own a horse week enables you to to be as hands on with your four legged friend as you wish to find out what it’s really like to have a horse of your own. Â
Training Week – 16 September
Last year’s training week was a real success and we were asked to think about another one this year. Â Well we did and scheduled it in for the beginning of May – it was full almost as soon as we advertised it and there has been interest shown in another one being added. Â We have looked at the diary and can now say that we will offer this for week beginning Saturday 16 September. Â If you’re interested do get in touch asap.
Some people mentioned that they were a little worried by the phrase ‘Intensive Training’ as they thought it meant it was only for very experienced riders so let me put your mind at rest over this because that really isn’t the case at all. Â It’s more of a usual week with the opportunity to do extra training – riding, horse care, bonding with your horse or whatever you have problems with or want to do more of. Â It’s for riders of all levels – horse owners or not – and as with all of our rides it’s tailored to you. Â There is the usual morning ride then as an addition in the afternoons Tanya can help you to work on any issues that you would like help with. Â She will talk everything over with the whole group at the beginning of the week and work out a program that fits and can be worked on through the week. Â