Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s The Best Way to See Rural France Whilst on Holiday?

Rural FranceFrance is blessed with having about twice the land mass of the United Kingdom, whilst the population remains approximately the same (65 million people in 2014 as opposed to the UK’s 63 million citizens).

Much of this population is concentrated in the big cities and towns, especially in the north, rather than spread out among vast dormitory towns and super-sized villages like in the UK.

The result is that much of France is still rural and is unspoilt by modern industrial developments. This is especially the case in our part of Southern France and also in many of the central regions. It is no surprise that France is such a popular holiday destination for tourists from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands looking to escape the bustle of city life back home.

So, what is the best way to see rural France and make the most of your holiday? There are several options…

Rural France by Train

France has an excellent train service linking all parts of the country to its central hub in Paris. Many historic French market towns, such as Avignon, Le Mans and Auxerre can be reached in just a few hours from the capital. However, many of the more remote areas are still a fair distance away from the nearest train station.

Rural France by Campervan or Caravan

The Caravan Club has over 140 caravan and camping sites across France offering excellent facilities, as well as innumerable smaller privately run sites. This makes France a great location for holidaymakers looking to tour the country with their own caravan or camper van from the UK, or one hired in France on arrival.

Rural France on Foot

France is crisscrossed by a well-marked and maintained network of 37 national hiking trails running the length and breadth of the country. For a back packer these include some unforgettable long distance trails through diverse and stunning countryside. The trails also offer short excursions for weekend walkers and day trippers.

Rural France by Horseback

In our opinion, France is one of the finest places in the world to take an equestrian holiday. No form of transport offers a more peaceful means of exploring rural France. What is more, the French countryside is so much more accessible to horse riders than rural areas in other parts of Europe. In many areas horse riders have extensive access to farmland, and a network of bridal paths and quiet rural roads mean that riders can amble for hours without ever coming across a vehicle, or even another person.

However you choose to explore rural France, make it your choice for a rural getaway this summer. Once you’ve been once, you may find yourself coming back year after year.

More information about our location in rural France.

Is France The Best Place in Europe For a Horse Riding Holiday?

The French SceneryFor us, the answer to this question is very simple: yes, although to leave it at that wouldn’t make for a very interesting blog post! France is a paradise for anyone who loves horse riding. You really only need to come here for a holiday in order to see for yourself, and we are certain you will leave convinced as well.

So here are the top reasons we think France is the best place to go for a European horse riding holiday:

The Varied Landscape

France has an astonishing variety of landscapes to offer horse lovers, with each region offering its own unique character and set of challenges to equestrian holidaymakers. From the rugged coasts and forested valleys of Celtic Brittany to the long dune fringed beaches of the South-West, there is something for everybody here. Our own area in the Lot region of Southern France is a peaceful, verdant country or rivers, picturesque villages and small fields, unspoilt by major towns. Here horse riders can enjoy the use of over 2,000 km of rural chemin rurale with the occasional tractor the only vehicle you are likely to pass.

French Food!

Traditional French food is a truly wonderful thing, and keeps many horse riders coming back to France for their holidays time and time again. Far removed from the pretensions of the big Paris restaurants, regional French cuisine has a provincial sophistication that sets it apart from other national cuisines. The French are justly proud of their cooking, combining as it does a tradition of fine ingredients, well-honed recipes and old fashioned hospitality.

Vineyard Trails

France is home to some of the most famous vineyards in the world. Fine wine is an integral part of French culture with each region having its own distinctive style. What better way to see the wine producing regions than at a leisurely pace on horseback? We certainly can’t think of one!

Accessibility

In contrast to horse riding in England and other European countries, you will be surprised how accessible much of France is to horse riders. In many areas it is possible to ride for hours undisturbed across farmland, past homesteads and hamlets on gently meandering paths, without ever having to navigate through a busy town or main road.

We adore horse riding in France and would love it if you could come and join us to experience it for yourself. Browse our website to find out more about our riding holidays and luxury accommodation options, and send us an email today for more information.

Château de Laumière’s horse-riding holiday checklist

6(1)It’s important to know what you need to pack to get the most a horse-riding holiday at Château de Laumière – especially if you haven’t been riding for a while, or if you’re planning your first equestrian break.

Here’s our checklist of what you’ll need to pack to get the most out of a riding holiday here.

Clothing

Hat: A riding hat that conforms to current British Safety Standards is vital – that’s why we ask you to bring your own. We insist that hats are worn all the time you’re on a horse, so you need to be totally comfortable and safe with the one you’re wearing. It’s best to bring one you know fits properly.

Boots: You should bring your own pair of long or short riding boots. Many riders who come here on holiday wear them on the plane – which seems very sensible, and saves vital space (not to mention, weight) in their case.

Trainers are not allowed. They are flat-soled and can slip through the stirrups.

Trousers: There’s a reason jodhpurs are the most comfortable trousers to wear on horseback, but any trousers that you find comfortable to ride in are fine.

Some people like to ride in jeans, but those side seams can rub – and you’ll soon know about it after a morning’s hack.

Shorts are, unfortunately, unsuitable for riding.

Shirts: Sensible tops are a must. Summers can – and do – get hot in Lot, so a shirt that covers and protects your shoulders is a good idea – short-sleeved cotton tops or polo shirts are ideal. They also provide a little extra protection from any low-hanging branches on the trails.

Creams: Speaking of the sun, we also recommend you bring some high-protection sun cream – and some insect repellent, too.

In case it rains: You will need a shower-proof jacket. Even in southern France, it does sometimes rain. Sorry. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Gloves / body protectors: If you usually wear riding gloves and / or a body protector, please do bring them along.

Non-riding style: When you’re not riding, you’ll soon discover that our beautiful corner of France is a pretty relaxed place.

6We make no demands on what you wear at breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Château – and, unless you’re planning a particularly expensive night out, there’s no need to bring that fancy little black number. Jeans, casual trousers, T-shirts, comfortable summer dresses are welcome almost everywhere.

Do I need anything else?

You can pretty much leave the rest to us.

You’re guaranteed the warmest of welcomes and the finest food at the beautiful Château de Laumière. We supply English tack, and our horses are all well schooled and highly adaptable.

Meanwhile, we’ve left it to the Lot department to provide a gorgeous backdrop. We think it’s done a remarkable job.

banacThe charming, rolling surroundings are perfect for just about every level of rider to explore. The only thing we ask is that you’re confident on a horse at all three paces – walking, trotting and cantering.

Hackers’ delight

The Lot department is picture-book France.

Riders can enjoy unspoiled, wooded countryside that boasts an abundance of wildlife – such as deer, wild boar, red squirrels, hares, buzzards and kites – dotted with enchanting villages.

As you round a gentle bend on one of the tree-lined chemins rurales that criss-cross the area, you may discover a splendid château or grand manor house, a centuries-old Priory or picturesque farmland that just goes on and on until it meets the sky.

Beginners’ luck

What if you’re a horse-riding novice, or need to regain a little confidence after a year or 10 out of the saddle?

No problem. We keep afternoons free, and you can easily arrange a riding lesson or two. They will offer non-riders a hint of what all the fuss is about, and help old riders remember all those skills they thought they had forgotten.

Hat… boots… shirt… trousers… you

That’s just about everything you need to enjoy a perfect equestrian holiday at Château de Laumière.

We’ll send you a little reminder of what you need to bring with confirmation of your booking, but this will get you started.