Causses du Quercy riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
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Causses du Quercy, France




Programme


• Rocamadour (UNESCO) Trail

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Horses are predominantly Thoroughbred, warmblood and Arabian as well as some crosses of Paint horses.

Nature of horses:

Hardy, even-tempered, calm and brave.

Height of horses:

15 - 16.3 hh

Weight limit:

95kg / 209lbs

Tack type:

English style trail saddles with lightweight endurance stirrups. Most are ridden in simple bitted bridles, but some are ridden in a hackamore instead.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

Nestled in the heart of southwestern France, the preserved park of Causses du Quercy is a beautiful destination for nature-orientated holidays. The region is distinguished by its position atop an ancient limestone plateau which lies in stark contrast with the relatively flat neighbouring region of Aquitaine but also the heights of the Central Massif which it also borders. In addition to this natural wealth, it offers beautiful built and rural heritage in the form of bastide towns, castles and manor houses, dovecotes and windmills. Its unique history and topography have earned it a deserved position amongst the list of UNESCO's global geoparks. Definitely one for architecture fans and those who love outdoor pursuits!

During this trail you will visit possibly one of the most famous villages in this region, Rocamadour. Not only is the village one of France's most popular tourist destinations - and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it is also an important pilgrimage site on the Camino de Santiago, 'Way of Saint James', French route. The sacred village of Rocamadour, built on 3 successive levels, is both a place of legend and history where old stone houses, majestic towers and the ancient castle seemingly cascade off the cliff and into the Alzou Canyon.

You will be accompanied on these rides by David Delbourg, an experienced French trail guide. David has been leading horseback tours in France for over 15 years, as well as in a wide range of other destinations such as Argentina, Canada and Morocco. He is also a qualified trainer for the challenging Equestrian Tourism qualification which all riding guides are required to pass in France. David will always be accompanied by a second guide who will usually ride at the back of the group.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

During this ride, you will stay in a variety of hotels and B&Bs, as well as rural guesthouses and a typical French manorhouse whilst in Rocamadour. Prices are generally based on guests sharing a twin or double bedroom, however, single rooms are available at a supplementary cost. Almost all of the accommodations offer rooms with en-suite facilities.

All meals are included during this ride, which comprises a typical French breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner.

Breakfasts will generally consist of a simple selection of bread or pastries with jams and marmalades, sometimes with yoghurt, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. Picnic lunches tend to be country meals involving cuts of cold meats, cheeses and various mixed salads (including appetisers and local wine). Evening meals will include plenty of a traditional French regional style and are taken at various restaurants and hotels along the trail route.

Please note that appetisers and drinks are not included with evening meals and bills for these will need to be settled locally.

 

Activities

During the ride, you will enjoy plenty of opportunities for cultural visits and there are also many ancient villages to explore on this route.

 

Further Details

Languages: French and English.

Health requirements: General good health and fitness recommended.

Age limit: None, within reason. Children must be accompanied by an adult and should be competent and comfortable riding a horse as there are no ponies available.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, full board meals, wine and appetizers with lunches and riding.

Not included: Flights and travel expenses, travel insurance, group set-time transfers from specified stations, drinks or appetizers in hotels and restaurants, tourism fees or other services.

 

Travel Information

There is a group transfer from the station at Monsempron-Libos, strictly at 6.30 pm, on arrival day and then a group transfer on departure day as well (usually departing at approx. 9 am).

Bergerac is the closest airport to the start point for this ride, however, it is small and flight options are limited. Otherwise, guests can choose to fly to Toulouse, Bordeaux or Paris instead, which all have regular train connections with Monsempron-Libos. Please note that train journey times can range from 2 hours (from Toulouse) to 5 hours (from Paris, so take this into account when booking flights.

The cost for transfer is 20€ (EUR) per person, return fare, paid on arrival. Please note that no alternative transfers will be offered.

Airport: Bergerac

Alternative Airport: Toulouse

 

Programme


Rocamadour (UNESCO) Trail



A seven-night trail allowing riders to explore the beautiful Lot department and the magical historical UNESCO listed village of Rocamadour.

Day 1: Arrival at Monsempron-Libos train station in time for a group transfer, strictly at 6.30 pm, to your hotel for tonight in Puy l'Eveque. Those arriving by car are welcome to arrive earlier in the afternoon and can spend some time resting or exploring the village.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Henry (or similar).

Day 2: After a traditional French breakfast, you will receive an introduction to your horses for the trail. Today's ride will begin at around 10am and include an easier pace to allow everyone to become accustomed to their new mount (and vice versa!). You will enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of Frayssinnet-le-Gelat Lake. In the afternoon you will meander your way Cazals, an ancient fortified village dating back to 1319 which has historically been under the stewardship of Richard the Lionheart and Guillaume de Toulouse.

Cazals is built in the traditional bastide style, with a vast central courtyard, the site of regular markets, around which houses were built to accommodate the clientele of the numerous friars and their animals. The quaint village was largely destroyed in 1588 when the Marshall of Biron, the Seneschal of Quercy, shot down the fortification walls.

Dinner and overnight in gite Lafuste or a similar B&B.

Day 3: In the morning, you will continue your ride by following the road to Le Vigan, near to the junction of the Bleou and Seguy rivers, right in the heart of the Haute Bouriane countryside. Your picnic lunch will be ready for you when you arrive at the foot of the ruins of l'Abbaye Nouvelle, the Cistercian abbey. Through the afternoon you will continue your ride towards Le Vigan, originally known as Carbonnac until the 11th century. Interestingly, settlements with names ending “ac” typically date back to the days of the Celts or at the very least to the Gallo-Roman empire. Le Vigan is home to a magnificent and incredibly impressive abbey which dates from the 13-14th centuries.

Accommodation tonight at Le Manoir de la Barrière (or similar).

Day 4: After breakfast today, you will rejoin the trail heading towards le Moulin fortifie du Cougnaguet , the fortified Mill of Cougnaguet, which was built over a period of 50 years by Cistercian monks between the latter part the 13th century and early 14th century. You will enjoy your picnic on the banks of L'Ouysse river - the same river that powers the mill. After lunch you will continue to travel through limestone plateaus, wooded copse and oak forests.

Dinner and overnight Domaine de Lagardelle or similar.

Day 5: Today you will ride to the historical and magical village of Rocamadour, a small but exceptional village in the Lot. Situated within the heart of the Parc Naturel Regional des Causses du Quercy, the medieval settlement of Rocamadour seemingly challenges the laws of gravity as it clings to the side of a limestone outcrop. Towers, houses, and fortified castles appear to hang from the limestone cliffs producing an almost unbelievable and impressive visual. You will enjoy your picnic lunch back at the guesthouse today, which will leave the afternoon free to explore the streets, shops and fortifications of Rocamadour. 

Accommodation tonight will be back at Domaine de Lagardelle (or similar).

Day 6: After breakfast today, you will leave Rocamadour behind and begin to climb the limestone heights to reach the medieval village of Carlucet where your picnic lunch awaits.  Through the afternoon you will follow picturesque trails to your destination of Labastide Murat. This ancient fortified village is situated on the limestone plateau of Gramat and is now a popular little French market town. The village was renamed in the early part of the 19th century by Napoleon Bonaparte for his brother-in-law, Joachim Murat, Marshal of the empire of France.

Dinner and overnight at Le Relais du Causse (or similar).

Day 7: Following another delicious French breakfast, today you will follow the valley of le Vers river until you arrive at the old watermill of in the small commune of Maquefave. Here, you will stop for a picnic lunch and some free time. The final afternoon of the ride will conclude upon arrival at the small rural village of Saint Denis Catus. 

Accommodation tonight will be at the Hotel Henry (or similar) in Puy l’eveque.

Day 8: After enjoying a hearty breakfast this morning, guests may depart by car or will be taken to the train station in Monsempron-Libos.



Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You need to be capable in all four paces (walk, rising trot, canter and gallop in a forward seat) across varied terrain in open spaces. You should ride regularly and be fit to canter for long distances, with soft hands. You should also be a confident rider.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6 days
Departure dates: 2021: 25 April - 2 May
 
Pricing: 2021:

£1588 per person sharing

Single supplement £351.

Please note that prices do not include transfers, drinks in hotels and restaurants or entrance fees.


Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.

All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.