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.
If youâ€™re looking for a calm, willing horse which is also athletic and energetic, why not ride a Normandy Cob?
They are hardy French horses which resemble thoroughbreds with a more robust frame, and they are popular for driving and riding.
In fact, in 2011 more than 33% of the horses in the French driving championships were Normandy Cobs.
They are famed for the length of their striding trots, and their stud book records seal brown, chestnut, and bay colourings. Official records for the breed have been kept for almost 70 years – the first stud book was produced in 1950.
The breed was used by the French military to pull artillery and by the French postal service to deliver and pick up mail. The cob was also used widely in agriculture in Northern France.
It originated in Normandy as a cross between the small horses of the area, the bidets, and the Carrossier Normand, a now-extinct breed of carriage horse which was widely seen in the early 20th Century.
While other breeds were threatened by mechanisation in agriculture and other industries, Normandy Cob breeders crossed their horses with thoroughbreds and that contributed to the French national saddle horse breed, the Selle FranĂ§ais.
In the 1980s, breeders worked hard to stem the threat of inbreeding and genetic drift to ensure the Normandy Cob had a bright future. Now, they can be seen in different parts of France, especially in Calvados, Manche, and Orne.
Normandy Cobs are hugely popular for all sorts of equestrian pursuits because they are calm and have winning personalities.
What does a typical Normandy Cob look like?
These elegant horses generally stand between 15.25 hands and 16.35 hands high, and weigh between 550kg and 900kg.
There are large variations in weight and height throughout the breed, though, caused by the different uses for the horses.
Look for a square profile and a short back, a head with good proportions, a convex or straight facial profile, wide nostrils, and small ears.
Normandy Cobs have a deep chest, broad, angled shoulders, muscular, short legs, and powerful hindquarters. They have round, strong feet and shed their shaggy winter coats in Spring.
The most popular Normandy Cob colourings include bays with white markings, chestnut, and seal brown.
Meet our Normandy Cobsâ€¦
Dunka â€“ Standing at 16.3 hands high, Dunka will be five this year. She is gentle, friendly, and loves to have fun. Our visitors adore her!
Bamboo â€“ He will be four this year, and is a typical example of the calm, friendly Normandy Cob. Bamboo stands at 17 hands high, so is a large example of the breed. He is very popular with our riders.
Would you like to meet our Normandy Cobs in person? Theyâ€™re ideal horses to develop your riding skills because theyâ€™re calm and friendly. Book your French riding holiday today. You can contact us here.
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 chĂ˘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 chĂ˘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 chĂ˘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 ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨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.
France is famed for its delicious dishes and succulent ingredients â€“ and the huge diversity of its regional cuisine.
Visitors to the ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re 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:
This is a dish typical of the Occitane region, which originated as food for pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia.
Itâ€™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 dâ€™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.
Most French regions have their own speciality summer salad â€“ 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 dâ€™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.Â With the addition of a slice of foie gras on toast, it becomes a Gourmand Quercynoise.
Quercyâ€™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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Winter doesn’t have quite the same sense of dread here as it did in England because it’s so different. Â Before we moved to this region someone said to me that here the sun shines every day and my response was ‘In your dreams!’ Â We all now know how unfair that comment was simply because what they said was true it really does. Â It’s sometimes not for very long but when it’s there it’s very bright and the sky is blue which makes everything feel better. At this time of year it gets very cold at night – at it’s most extreme it can go down to -15 deg.C at times during January & February – and the mornings are frosty and quite breathtakingly beautiful as it was this morning but when it’s like this the sun appears mid morning and by lunchtime when you look out of the window it’s a totally different world. The frost has gone and the temperature can rise by between 20 – 25 deg.C which is a huge amount and at times like this you can almost forget it’s winter. The photos above were taken at 8.45am, the following at around noon and OK it’s not so pretty withouth the frost BUT just look at that blue sky!
On the other hand, some people are just too busy with lunch!
Our Scandinavian guests returned again in early May this year complete with a set of pink T-shirts – Team Trotting at Chateau de Laumiere -for everyone including us. Thank you all!
Although our hacks cater for all levels of riding with plenty of opportunity for good canters and a gallop not everyone wants to do more than enjoy a leisurely ride and take in the countryside. This is the case with Team Trotting hence the name. Whilst here Chris (one of the group) was filming everything and to our delight has sent this momento of their holiday with us.
We are inviting you to share this video as we think it gives a better idea of the countryside you can ride through here than we can describe in words
If you are considering Southern France as a holiday destination this year, here are five reasons why we think it will be the start of a location love affair.
1. Easy To Get To
When we are off on our holidays, it is nice to think that it is not going to take that long to get to our destination. You can either choose a very short haul flight or if you do not like to take to the skies; there is always the ferry or tunnel option and then a car or train journey taking in the stunning vistas.
Southern France is well known for its beautiful scenery, castles, medieval villages and coastal regions. Accompanying this feast for the eyes is total pleasure for your taste buds, with a wealth of delicious local foods to indulge. You may want to sneak in a cheeky glass of wine or two too.
Of course, it is much easier to enjoy a slower pace and to fully relax when the climate is just so much more conducive to a great quality of life. With the gorgeous Mediterranean sun making an appearance for, on average, over 320 days a year, you are almost guaranteed good weather.
There are a wealth of activities to keep you entertained while you are on holiday in Southern France, ranging from the more genteel walking and sightseeing through to cycling, climbing and sailing.
Alternatively, you could view some of the stunning sceneries from a different vantage point as you go horse riding through the countryside. Excellent weather, total relaxation and beautiful views all wrapped up in one fantastic holiday.
Visiting southern France will be the start of a love affair and one which you’ll wish to continue throughout the years. With such a short hop across the Channel, it’s one which you can regularly revisit.
And with that weather year round, southern France has something to offer throughout the seasons so regardless of what time of the year you’re reading this article, why not check out our holiday prices to see the next available option for taking a riding holiday here at ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re?
We think there is no better way to enjoy the delights of Southern France than on horseback; and hundreds of our delighted guests would agree with you – see what they have to say by reading our holiday reviews.
The only way to truly appreciate nature is to become a part of nature. Take the first step of your greatest journey today.
The South of France has some of the finest architecture on the planet to accompany its beautiful countryside and weather. Cities in the South of France, such as Toulouse, boast classic architecture that dates back to the 11th Century. The South of France has not only aesthetic value, it also displays a great historical past which has been preserved to give the area a unique sense of belonging to an ancient time.
The basilica of St-Sernin and the Assezat mansion are just 2 examples of medieval architecture which have been preserved in the region, in order to give the area a distinct beauty. Everywhere you travel in the South of France, you will see buildings dating back a thousand years. You will be surrounded by design of the highest aesthetic value as well as having a personal insight into the history and development of French architecture throughout the ages.
The South of France is perfection itself. The only way to heighten the experience is to see it all on horseback.Â Cantering through the countryside on a beautiful horse is the best way to experience the history and tradition of the South of France. Imagine what it will be like to ride through the countryside like so many other historical figures. There is so much tradition to be experienced, that the best way to take it all in is by riding on horseback.
There is no point driving around an area of such natural beauty, preserved though out the ages, in a noisy car pumping fumes. If you really want to experience the South of France, as it has been experienced throughout the centuries, then you must experience the South of France on horseback.