Cruise on the River Lot
On a houseboat
You are guaranteed to unwind on the River Lot
It's time to change your rhythm of life and board your boat – it does not require a permit – and explore the Lot Valley as you have never seen it. You will feel at home as soon as you step onto your houseboat. It is well-equipped and comfortable.
When you've been instructed about operating the boat, you'll be ready for 74kms of fascinating landscapes between Luzech and Larnagol. You are guaranteed to unwind and enjoy a timeless trip.
Malbec and the Cahors vineyards
With Amarres left behind – here you are, captain of your boat! The first landscapes slide past, and the Cahors vineyards appear. Several wineries are accessible from the river – a good opportunity to discover Malbec, the iconic grape variety in Cahors wine. Some are famous, like Château de Caix, property of the Queen of Denmark; others are smaller, but all can be visited and provide a chance to meet the producers.
The Chamizo Fresco is 120m long and 6m high. It portrays the history and mythology of wine in 12 panels, starting with Julius Caesar.
Passing through a lock
When the 1st lock appears in the horizon, there is a little apprehension mixed with the excitement of this 1st passage, but you know you'll enjoy it as soon as you start turning the handle. There is no lock keeper on the Lot – the 17 locks are all manual (except one!). They are a high point of the trip, and an integral part of the adventure. You'll see – it's great way of staying in shape, and a very proud moment when the boat emerges into the next basin!
You will find some teenagers hanging around locks (especially in Summer) and in exchange for a small sum of money they will help you manoeuvre. It is also possible for two boats to go into a lock at the same time.
The Valentré Bridge in Cahors, a Mediaeval jewel
Travelling on the Lot in a hired boat is very peaceful, and every minute brings a new horizon, often perched high above – houses, churches and numerous chateaux that overlook the river, such as the magnificent Château de Mercuès.
It's already time to enjoy the splendid view of the Valentré Bridge, the iconic monument of the town of Cahors, rising straight ahead. You get the measure of this masterpiece when tying up at the lock right by it, and understand why it is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Cahors, in the South
When in Cahors, don't miss walking round the town. You can enjoy wandering round the narrow streets, exploring the Cathedral of St Etienne, lazing around the Boulevard Gambetta, or making the most of the famous market if you pass through on a Saturday or Wednesday.
The town's impressive architecture dates from the Middle Ages, and it enjoys the laid-back lifestyle typical of towns in the South.
Peaceful stop in the heart of the village of Vers
There are many place to stop overnight, but some make you want to drop anchor more than others. One of them is Vers, with a pleasant campsite, a stunning chapel, and a famous restaurant, and also really good facilities: here you can play pétanque, fish or go swimming, and a play park will keep the children happy.
Limestone cliffs and a towpath
As you continue on your way, the banks get wilder and wilder, and the cliffs, steeper and steeper, are reflected in the river as in a mirror.
Here you are in the midst of unspoilt nature – time seems to stand still. You can certainly enjoy coasting along, but keep your eyes open – you don't want to miss the cliffs at Ganil and its famous towpath. It is here, where the cliff plunges straight into the water, that the path has been cut out of the rock – 300m long and 2m high.
The towpath was constructed in 1845 by men. It was used by the horses to allow the "gabares" (traditional boats) to travel against the current taking local merchandise towards Bordeaux.
The highlight of the trip at St Cirq Lapopie
After leaving the canal, look up and admire the hilltop village of St Cirq Lapopie. Listed among the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" (Most Beautiful Villages), it overlooks the Lot, perched 100m above the river on its rocky outcrop. The view from the river is unique, but the village also reveals its secrets when explored on foot.
Its steep, narrow streets; its artists; little shops and beautiful, half-timbered houses; its church and the impressive view of the river will certainly captivate you. When it's beautiful, it's beautiful!
More beautiful villages to explore
From 2007, the navigable length of the Lot been increased by 10km, from St Cirq Lapopie to Larnagol. The route is lined with peaceful villages and delightful landscapes. Don't miss having a look at Cènevières and its impressive chateau, or Calvignac, a beautiful hilltop village. It is at Larnagol, a delightful fortified village, that our adventure on this stunning river comes to an end, but the Lot continues on its way.
Where to sleep and eat, what to do?
Voici les bonnes adresses de Cathy (Tourisme Lot) pour vivre pleinement votre expérience croisière sur le Lot.
Petite sélection de séjours dans le Lot. Après votre croisière sur le Lot, pourquoi pas une escapade dans le vignoble AOC Cahors, ou quelques jours à la découverte du patrimoine du Quercy ?
- By car: Luzech is 1½ hours north of Toulouse. From Toulouse: A20 motorway towards Paris/Montauban. Exit 58 Cahors, then départemental road D653 to Luzech
- By air: arrive at Toulouse Blagnac International Airport, then travel by car as described above.