Boating holidays on the River Lot offer the promise of new experiences, new pleasures and the joy of getting away from it all. The waterways in this region will lead you into hidden areas of the Lot valley that you never knew existed.
A cruise through the Lot is like sailing through a canyon
The ideal way to explore the landscapes of the Lot Valley is from your self-drive boat, looking out over the winding stream. The subtle shades and cliffs reflected in the water create an amazing spectacle that makes you feel very small in the face of nature’s immensity. Then, as you cruise towards the canals, your journey will take you back through the ages as you pass through picturesque villages, from Quercy to the medieval village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie. As you follow the trail of historic heritage, you’ll come to Cahors, a Town of Art and History, famous for the Valentré bridge, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town is also famous for its wine and of course its truffles – a treat for any foodie. This is a gourmet’s paradise, but it’s also heaven for nature lovers and anyone keen on history, not to mention sporty types: there’s a range of activities on offer, from walking and gentle bike rides to kayaking and – of course – rock-climbing. Because when you’ve seen the Lot Valley from your canal boat and fallen in love with its imposing limestone cliffs, you’re going to want to climb them…aren’t you?
Cruising from the Cahors base, you plunge straight into the Lot Valley.
Cahors is a picturesque and fascinating town with medieval and neo-classical influences and several interesting sites in its centre. But it’s also an ideal departure point for your boating holidays on the wild and lovely River Lot.
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destination and its waterways
There are five items on your to-do list
between Luzech and Larnagol
The Lot Valley is regarded as being one of France’s most unspoilt regions, and boating holidays on the River Lot offer some unique experiences. Here are five suggestions. To add an extra touch of authenticity, the locks are manual here, so are best left to your most energetic crew members!
Valentré Bridge, where Old Nick enters the legend of Devil’s Bridge
To the west of Cahors, this 172-metre-long bridge is made up of eight majestic arches supporting three imposing towers… The construction is so imposing that according to legend, the devil himself helped to build it. The bridge overlooks the river and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – not to be missed.
Truffles from the Lot, heaven for hedonists
Truffles are the region’s black gold – so sought after that they’re almost legendary. To try them, it seems that you have to deserve them. The Lot holds the secret because it’s the premier department in France for truffle production.
Douelle, where hugging the wall is an art form
As you pass by Douelle heading for Luzech, you follow a wall 120 metres long and 6 metres high. It’s a fresco, telling the story of a wine that dates back as far as Julius Cæsar. It’s the work of Didier Chamizo and is now the largest contemporary art mural in Europe.
Saint-Cirq Lapopie, the favourite village in France
This village was chosen in 2012 as the most beautiful village in France. You’ll see this amazing place from your self-drive boat if you look up towards the high cliffs. It’s a great place to stop off and enjoy the view from the top of the village: a scene you’ll never forget.
The Château de Mercuès, step into another age in the heart of Quercy
To the west of Cahors, this imposing medieval building overlooks the valley and is now a hotel in the Relais et Châteaux group. Stop here for a detour into history and a chance to explore the Mercuès vineyard.
Rent a boat in the Lot Valley, for a fascinating cruise through the wilderness
As you glide along the River Lot on your boating holidays, you’ll pass a succession of limestone cliffs and tracts of farmland in a landscape that’s always surprising. The water is green, the locks are manual and the castles overlooking the river are ancient. A cruise here is really something special. The cultural heritage, marked by medieval history, makes this waterways region even more magical. The green waters of the river reflect unspoilt natural features such as coves, dolmens and caves. It’s the contrast between the peaceful winding river and the imposing cliffs that make this cruise so different. And we haven’t even mentioned the delicious food and wine: the vin noir (dark wine) that goes back to the middle ages, truffles – the Lot’s black gold – and foie gras flavoured with truffles, which you can sample in one of the typical red-roofed taverns. Foodies and anyone who enjoys trying local specialities will love the Lot Valley. On board your no-license boat you can cover up to 64 kilometres of the river from Luzech to Larnagol. And when it comes to locks, you’re in at the deep end: you’ll have to manage them on your own. It’s a great way to discover what life was like in days gone by.
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