Tag Archives: French Countryside

7 great reasons to book your next riding holiday in France before Christmas

 

Rising holidays in France
Give your horse-loving relative or friend the best Christmas ever

Wondering what to buy the horse-lover who has everything this Christmas?

Look no further! Organising a riding holiday in France for 2018 would be a wonderful surprise for them on Christmas morning.

Plus, if you book your riding holiday for 2018 now, you’ll get it at 2017 prices. It’s a win-win situation.

If you need more reasons to book, we’ve come up with seven excellent

  1. Our horses are one of the best reasons to book with us. Our Arab/Mérens cross Hope was born at the château, and she has a wonderful character. Ayva, our Selle Français, is hugely popular with our visitors and we have traditional Mérens horses Nao and Mollie, half-siblings who are excellent examples of their breed. We have Spanish, Lusitanian, Andalucian, sports ponies, and a thoroughbred. Each has their own distinct character, and there is a horse to suit every rider. From kind and calm horses and ponies to horses experienced in dressage and events, you can view our horses here.
  2. You’ll meet our foals! If your loved one loves horses, they’ll love meeting and interacting with our foals.
  3. 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 won’t have to worry about traffic in the way you do in some parts of the UK.
  4. There is plenty to see on our doorstep – 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.
  5. You’ll find some of the best cuisine in France. From mouth-watering local melons to tasty local recipes, our château gives you a true taste of authentic Lot. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy it – we cook and prepare all your meals. Find out more about the cuisine here.
  6. We’re English-speaking owners who are fluent in French. We’re here to help you have the smoothest trip possible and our language skills could prove useful.
  7. You can book your surprise present online – there’s no need to fight through the crowds to look for something special. That’s a huge bonus when we’re all so busy.

Enjoy relaxation and a little luxury

Visiting our château 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 château 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 Château de Laumière gives you relaxation, good food, and luxurious accommodation.

Ready to book your 2018 break? If you book before the end of December, we’ll fix it at this year’s price. You can check out our prices here.

Get the true taste of Lot during your French riding holiday

French holidays
Quercynoise melons are famed for their quality

France is famed for its delicious dishes and succulent ingredients – and the huge diversity of its regional cuisine.

Visitors to the Château de Laumière will be able to sample the authentic taste of the Lot during their stay. Here are a few of the dishes and ingredients which will tempt your taste buds:

Aligot

This is a dish typical of the Occitane region, which originated as food for pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia.

It’s a fondue-like combination of mashed potatoes and cheese made with butter, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and cream. It has a smooth and elastic texture.

It is often made with Tomme de Laguiole or Tomme d’Auvergne cheese, though mozzarella and cantal can be substituted for them, and it is a dish beloved of local people in the area. Often, it is served with roast pork or Toulouse sausages and Auvergne red wine, and is a favourite at village celebrations and in street markets.

The dish originally included bread instead of potatoes, before the vegetable was introduced into France.

Salad Quercynoise

Most French regions have their own speciality summer salad – such as salad Nicoise on the Riviera.

The Quercy is the ancient province which combines the Lot, part of the Tarn, and part of the Garonne.

In the Lot area, you will find the delicious speciality salad is Quercynoise, with locally-grown walnuts as the essential element of this dish.

It is often served as an hors d’oeuvre with winter meals as well as a light lunch or side salad in summer.

Our version of the salad consists of lettuce with a vinaigrette dressing, jambon du pays (traditionally-cured ham), sliced smoked magret de canard (duck breast), lardons, gesiers (gizzards), walnuts, hard-boiled egg, and tomatoes.  With the addition of a slice of foie gras on toast, it becomes a Gourmand Quercynoise.

 

French riding holiday
Melons are grown widely in this area

Quercynoise melon

Quercy’s clay and limestone soil and warm climate is perfect for growing mouth-watering melons.

The clay helps the melons retain water and feeds them vital nutrients. They are often grown by small, family farms and they are a key part of the local economy.

They have banded together to form the Interprofessional Syndicate of Melon du Quercy, allowing the area to gain official recognition for the quality of its melonsas a Protected Geographical Indication.

Every fruit is identified by the Melon du Quercy sticker, and its orange-coloured flesh shows it is high in vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamins B and C.

Holidays in France
Duck breasts

Duck

France is famed for its duck dishes. They include magret de canard (or duck breast) and cuisse de canard or confit de canard (a duck leg cooked slowly and preserved in duck fat).

Foie gras is also a sought-after addition to several French dishes.

Often, duck gizzards cooked in duck fat (a confit) are added to salads.

Truffles

During the summer, highly-prized white truffles are sold in the markets of the Lot region. They are often served grated in omelettes or with foie gras.

Time to plan your next riding holiday in France?

Take a look at our prices and our availability here.

 

 

The wonderful wildlife you could spot on your riding holiday in Lot

French riding holidays
You may spot a hoopoe

Whether you’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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Riding holidays in France
A praying mantis
  1. 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.
  1. 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 – they are a protected species.
  1. The bird life of Lot is rich. You’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. It’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 year’s stay before the end of December, we will fix it at this year’s price.

You can check out our prices here.

Think of all the beautiful wildlife you could see in a stunning, relaxing part of the world.

 

 

Love the great outdoors? There’s so much to do in Promilhanes during your French riding holiday

Holidays in France
Try kayaking or canoeing to see the great outdoors in Lot

Whether you’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:

Hiking

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.

You’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.

You’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 Bouziès 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.

Find out more here.

Talk to us about local walks around our base in Promilhanes.

Cycling

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 France’s most beautiful villages.

There are options to suit all levels of cyclist – 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 Célé Valley is also a popular spot for enjoying the river – along with its attractions to potholers.

The River Célé joins the River Lot at Bouziès.

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.

5 of the prettiest villages and towns to visit during your French riding holiday

French riding holidays
The picturesque streets of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

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 ‘The Favourite Village of the French’ 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 site’s owner in the early 20th Century. It has temporary exhibitions of contemporary and modern art alongside the museum’s 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 – 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, you’ll come to Bouziès.

It is known for its fine suspension bridge spanning the river between impressive cliffs.

It’s a busy base for tourists taking trips along the river – 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, you’ll leave Bouziès under the “Castle of the English”.

Nestled in the heart of Cahors vineyards, the medieval village of Puy l’Evêque 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 – 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 Valentré 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 town’s 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.

 

 

 

English Instructors, French Countryside – The Perfect Riding Holiday

Riding InstructorThe countryside of Southern France has much to recommend it: beautiful scenery, picturesque villages and gorgeous sunny days. If you are thinking of taking a horse riding holiday and would like to go a little further afield than the UK, then France might prove to be the perfect solution.

The French countryside is an idyllic place to explore on horseback, with significantly more open access areas to explore and much quieter roads than the UK or other parts of Europe. It’s for these reasons that Southern France is the favoured choice for the more discerning holidaymakers looking for a tranquil riding holiday.

Horse Riding Instructors

If you are a beginner horse rider, or if you are unfamiliar with the countryside, having a qualified Instructor at hand to offer assistance is an important consideration. Maybe you need to brush up on your equestrian skills, or simply need a guide to help you negotiate unfamiliar roads and trails?

Most French riding schools have excellent Instructors, well skilled in all aspects of horse riding. France is well-set up for horse riding, and so you will not have much difficulty finding an Instructor with the skills to give you the tuition you need.

Will Language be a Barrier?

The ability to communicate effectively with your Instructor is vital. When you are being given information about how to ride, safety, equipment or where you are heading on your trek that day, it is crucial that you understand every detail.

Many French riding Instructors speak excellent English, but, as you would expect, this varies greatly from person to person. If you have a fluent grasp of the French language this isn’t going to be an issue for you. However, if your French isn’t that great, then you may find the language barrier gets in your way.

Therefore, when you are making your selection about a riding holiday venue abroad, always check whether they employ English speaking Instructors.

Feel at Ease With Your Instructors

At horse riding holiday venues such as ours we cater for many tourists coming in from the UK. We therefore make sure there are always English Instructors available on all our organised excursions. Our instructors are completely at home in southern France and are comfortably bi-lingual, so they make the perfect guides and companions on your riding holiday.

Great Climate, Great Location

With our English instructors and the rolling French countryside you can relax and explore more of the local area at your own pace. If the thought of sunny days, beautiful country and English speaking instructors sounds good to you, then heading to the French countryside for a horse-riding holiday with us this year may just make for the perfect holiday.