Type of horses:
Mixed breeds including locally bred French saddle horses.
Nature of horses:
Good natured, sensible and forward going.
Height of horses:
14.2hh - 15.2hh
English, Western and McLellan saddles are available.
This riding trip traverses a part of France considered by National Geographic and many others to be one of the worlds “unspoiled and undiscovered earthly paradises”. Starting in the vineyards of ‘Cahors’ with its famous Malbec grape, located within the Lot valley and interspersed with chateaux, small country villages, woods and pastures; you will ride into more and more wild and isolated country. You ride to the famous prehistoric caves of Pech-Merle and visit its incredible Magdalenian cave paintings. Your journey will take you along rivers and up into the hills, with breathtaking views, passing troglodyte houses perched on towering cliffs, as you traverse the isolated and picturesque Célé valley. In this isolated region of France, within the cliffs that prehistoric man inhabited, you will feel like you have stepped through time. By the end of the week, you will have been immersed into a world of rugged beauty, history, culture and dined on the fine cuisine of the region - truffles, cheese, foie gras, magret, wine.......
Our partner here also offers trails discovering the vineyards of Bordeaux and the medieval history of the Dordogne, so if you've enjoyed this trail then you may wish to choose another one next time, or if the dates for this one don't suit, check out the others instead.
You stay in a mixture of charming B&B's, local hotels and chateaux - all with private bathrooms. They have been chosen for their location and some will have swimming pools.
France is renowned for it's excellent food and wine, and this trail enables you to sample both. At most dinners, guests will have the chance to choose what they like - options include specialities of the region and should be a delight.
Breakfast will be taken at your hotel and is traditionally French with plenty of coffee or tea and fresh bread or croissants.
Lunch is often a picnic which is brought by the back-up crew and will include fresh cheeses, pate, cold meats, breads and salads.
Dinner is taken in the hotels own restaurants or in nearby restaurants. Menus are varied and in most cases you will have a choice from a menu. Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice. A moderate amount of wine with dinner is included (c. 1/2 bottle per person) but if you require extra or would like additional spirits, these are payable locally.
Some visits on foot are included, such as the prehistoric caves at Pech-Merle and the village of Cremps, but this ride is not suitable for Non-Riders.
Languages: English and French
Health requirements: Nothing specific but general good health
Age limit: 16+
Included: Riding, accommodation, full board, wine tastings, entrance fees, transfers from train station/airport at set times.
Not included: Flights/trains, private transfers (if not at set times), insurance
Transfers are included at set times from either Bergerac airport or the nearest train station. If you cannot arrive at the set time then a private transfer will cost €130 per vehicle each way.
Arrival: 3:30pm at Bergerac train station or airport
Departure: Cahors train station (any time) or Bergerac airport (2h 30min drive).
You will be met on arrival at Bergerac railway station or airport and transferred 1.5 hours to your comfortable B&B which is set in beautiful grounds in a rural location and has a swimming pool. After settling in, enjoy a classic French dinner with excellent local wines.
After breakfast the horses are allocated and you set off riding east, through the woods and many of the area's vineyards. Stop at the Chateau Chambert, an award winning Cahors vineyard that has been producing Malbec wine since the 12th century. There is an opportunity to visit the cellar and taste the Chateau's wines before lunch.
The afternoon ride continues through vineyards, forests and hillsides before reaching a quiet, secluded chateau where you spend the night, after enjoying another delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant.
After breakfast, and a long morning ride crossing the calcareous and wild plateau of the Lot region, you will stop at the small 13th century village of Le Montat. After a wonderful lunch, and a short ride through varied countryside, valleys and oak woodlands you will arrive at Chateau Hautes-Serres, another award winning Malbec vineyard, where you can visit and enjoy a wine tasting. Afterwards you are transferred by vehicle to a charming B&B nearby which is located within the centre of the Quercy black truffle region. At dinner you will sample the "Black Diamond" truffle which is world renowned for its delicate and rich flavour. The truffles are paired with stunning local wines, making your dining experience one to remember.
Today starts with a short morning ride to the small village of Cremps where you can enjoy a quiet walk around the village and its 12th century church before a picnic lunch in the village. In the afternoon your ride continues northwards through the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie which is perched on a cliff face with commanding views of the Lot valley. After settling into your hotel within the village, there is time to explore the village, which is considered one of the most beautiful in France. Dinner will be in one of the local restaurants where you will have another chance to dine on traditional French cuisine.
Today you ride close to the Lot river and then cross the plateaus above the valley before reaching the Chateau de Cenevieres - this 11th century chateau has some impressive additions and renovations from the 14th and 16th centuries. Enjoy lunch before being taken on a guided tour of this private chateau. The afternoon ride loops back along the river valley to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie for a second night. (If you prefer, then you can choose not to ride today),
A spectacular morning ride today, along the cliffs and crossing the Lot river to reach the prehistoric caves of Pech-Merle, which are decorated with Magdalenian stone paintings. Visit the caves after enjoying another picnic lunch.
In the afternoon you ride through the beautiful Cele valley before stopping at the peaceful village of Cabreret which is built amongst a circle of cliffs which contain amazing troglodyte houses. This evening you will transfer to Cahors to spend your final night and to enjoy a farewell dinner.
Your accommodation is very near to Cahors train station, so you may depart from there at any time. Before leaving Cahors, it's recommended to take some time to wander through the tiny streets of the medieval downtown on this Saturday morning market day. Also you shouldn't miss the great opportunity to see and walk on the Valentré Bridge, a remarkable example of medieval architecture built on the Lot River during the 14th century and now registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela. If departing from Bergerac airport, plan for a 2h30 minutes drive.
You stay in a mixture of rural hotels, charming B&B's and chateaux. Some places will have swimming pools. All have private bathrooms.
You spend two nights in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, but move on every other night.
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||7|
|Ability description:||You need be at least an intermediate rider who is happy in all paces in the countryside.|
|Type of ride:||Trail|
|Total riding time:||7 days / 6 nights / 5 full days riding (4-6 hours per day)|
|Departure dates:||2017: 14-20 May, 18-24 June, 8-14 October.|
£2181 per person sharing
£278 single supplement