We will ride along the Via Podiensis, one
of the contemporary Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage routes.
the heart of the Causses de Quercy Nature Reserve, amid arid plateau
and green valleys, the Compostela route makes for a highly cultural
6 days hike.
A succession of sites tell tales of prehistory, pilgrims’ resting
places in priories, annals of history or just the everyday life
of the shepherd. In this setting of stone and greenery, riding
along the Lot and Célé rivers, we invite you to take
this classic journey thought the Lot. You can be sure that this
millennium route is storing up a thousand and one happy memories
Day 1: Pech Merle Equestrian Farm – Marcilhac sur Célé
Stony terrain with climbs and descents. This first leg provides a
good warm-up and is the steepest and wildest of the route. We will
ride along the Célé Valley as far as Marcilhac on GR
(hiking trail) 651. A part of this trail is used in the international
Vigan equestrian endurance competition. We will ride through Cabrerets
and its châteaux: the 8 th century troglodyte Château du
Diable (Devil’s Castle) and the 13 th and 15 th century Gontaud
Biron Château; picnic and visit to the Cuzals open air museum;
view over the pretty 15 th and 18 th century Génies Château
from the old Sauliac overhanging path; arrival in the medieval village
of Marcilhac sur Célé. Possibility of a guided tour of
the village and the old 10 th century abbey. Bed and breakfast (chambre
d’hôte). approx. 25 km ( 15 miles) and 5 hours on horseback.
Day 2: Marcilhac sur Célé – Béduer
There is less climbing on this beautiful leg which will take us to
the edge of the green Limargue region and will be dotted with major
sites and remarkable views over the Célé valley. We will
cross Saint Sulpice, the ancient 12 th and 14 th century fortified
town and Brengues, the 8 th century Château des Anglais hanging
on to the rock face. Lunch at the foot of the ancient 13 th century
Val Paradis priory of Espagnac. We will leave the banks of the Célé at
Saint Eulalie (10 th century church) to return to the Causses (limestone)
plateau) with its walled pathways and its “cazelles” (dry
stone huts). We will arrive late afternoon at our evening stopover
at Michelle and Jean-Claude Chassain’s Pech Ibert campsite, where
we can enjoy the pool, weather permitting. Night spent in a chalet
with dinner at our hosts’ restaurant. approx. 30
km ( 19 miles) and 5 hours on horseback.
Day 3: Béduer – Saint Jean De Laur
"Nous saluons de loin Béduer… souvenirs féodaux" (Paul
Valéry - we will wave farewell to Béduer, with its feudal
memories), as we join the track GR 65. This is the main route of Compostela
pilgrims in France and where we will cross the massif separating the
Lot and Célé valleys. Lunch in Gréalou, a village
dominating the Causses. After a few hidden pathways dotted with “cazelles” we
will go down to swim in the river Lot with the horses. An arched path
will take us to Cajarc, the lively medieval town where we will tie
up the horses and have a well deserved break on the terrace of one
of the town’s cafés. We will end the day with a ride up
the rock to our evening stopover, the Domaine de Gaifié. Night
in individual houses with supper on site. 35km ( 22 miles)
and 5 hours on horseback.
Day 4: GR 65 St Jean de Laur – Lalbenque
Having reached Varaire, we will take the ancient Roman way, the “Cami Gasco” or “Cami
Ferrat” which linked Caylus to Cahors. We will go further onto
the limestone plateau, wooded with oaks, maples and junipers, from
the Limogne Causse to Quercy Blanc. Night and dinner at Mas de Ceres
B & B (chambre d’hôtes). 35 km ( 22 miles), 6 hours
on horseback. This leg involves less climbing.
Day 5: Lalbenque – Concots
An insight into the
garrigue shrubland and dry grasses of the Quercy Blanc, with a strong
Mediterranean character and rich in orchids, before returning to the
pathway through dolines (sinkholes), chasms and dry valleys. We will
pass by the picturesque 12 th century Château de Couanac before
arriving at La Loge, owned by Jean Marie and Jacqueline Aillet, our
hosts for the evening. Night spent in a large Quercy house (gîte
rural), with a country meal shared with our hosts and an evening spent
around the huge ancestral fireplace (“cantou”). 32 km ( 20 miles).
Day 6: Concots – Cabrerets
We leave GR 65 shortly after Concots, riding through “ouvalas” (giant
dolines) to return to the magical beauty of the Lot valley and the
unique village of Saint Cirq Lapopie. A stop here to stroll and get
a taste of the gentle way of life in this museum village, chosen by
painters and writers, is a must. The warm setting and gastronomic cuisine
of L’Atelier Restaurant will make happy guests of us. This is
the last leg, when our mounts will sense the stables. We’ll ride
along the towpath cut into the rock, a witness to the period of glory
of a once flourishing boating business.
Arrival at Pech Merle Equestrian Farm late afternoon to round the trip
off with a delicious home-made cake. 30 km ( 19 miles) and 5 hours on horseback.
Attention: the above itinerary might be modified depending on
climate, riding level of the group and availability of accommodations.
HORSES, TACK AND RIDING EXPERIENCE
Saddle horses, part-breed Arabs and Barbs for example, all courageous,
calm, hardy and comfortable. Some were born on the farm, all were raised
on the farm and chosen for hacking. They will guarantee you comfort
We use leather trail saddles (French brands, i.e. Gaston Mercier).
Simple bridle. Saddle bags are provided.
To participate in our trail ride, we ask all riders to be confident
at all gaits in the open country and to be in a good physical condition
(able to ride thirty kilometers per day, an average of 5 hours riding).
On this tour we have dynamic pace, varied terrain and some technical difficulties,
but our well trained horses grant total security.
Children accompanied by an adult are welcome on this ride from
the age of 12 and from 15 if they come on their own (with parental
consent). But we advise them to participate on our special junior ride
in the same area.
Weight limit is 90kg (254 pounds)
Possibility to bring your own horse on this ride. In this case, the
horses are accomodated in a separate paddock.
It is important that the horses are used to trail riding.
The non riders are also welcome if they are independant. That allows them
to discover the area and the differents highlights of the country. It is possible
to join the group every night with their own car.
Pascal, qualified equestrian guide and grandson of the man who discovered
the Pech Merle caves, will lead you along the stone pathways to discover
his countryside and its culture.
Transportation of luggages and equipments
will be made by a support vehicule.
Along this riding tour, the 6 nights are spent
in double room with shared facilities, in different kind of accomodation
: guesthouse, individual house, cottage (saddle bag required)
No possibility to have a single room every nights.
All the meals are prepared by the owner of the accomodation, which allow
us to have varied and good quality food.
For lunch, we will stop at the restaurant 3 days and the rest of the
times we will have picnic.
Dinner are taken at the accomodation, with local product. The diversity
of the menu is one of the special point on this ride.
Water and win provided for lunch and dinner.
*To operate the tour with a minimum of 2 riders we ask a small group supplement that might be refunded depending on the final number of riders in the group: + 150 € / person for group of 2-3 riders.
Other departures might be organised on demand. Minimum 4 riders. Please, contact us.
- Extra night , before or after the trail: 35 euros /night /person, half board basis (at the riding farm, in dormitory)
To be paid on site.
- Non rider (full board basis - no activities) : 590 €
- Trail ride as described on full board basis (in double room basis), from
dinner of day 1 to breakfast of day 8,
- Water and wine at lunch and dinner,
- Total and unlimited financial guarantee (APS) of all payments made
to us (see "why ride with us ?"),
- Protection of the French Law for travel consumers who book through French travel agencies (see "why ride with us ?").
- transportation to the departure of the ride,
- drinks other than wine and water at lunch and dinner,
- transfers from and to Cahors train station (30 euros return trip to
be paid directly on the spot),
- any other service or optional visit entries, personal expenses,
- a tour to discover other regions of France before or after the
trail (castle life, golf training, thalassotherapy spas...), see
our "after ride proposals".
- optional insurances.
BOOKING - MORE INFORMATION
Contact us for any inquiry at (33) 04.37.02.20.00 or send a mail to Claire, your travel consultant for Lot & Quercy trails.
6 days / 5 nights / 6 riding
English / French speaking guide.
From 4 to 8 riders
If the group is less than 4 riders, the departure could be guaranteed with
a supplement. See our dates and rates part.
You will be meet directly at
the equestrian farm at 09.00 am.
Possibility to have a transfer from Cahors train station. To be booked
and paid in advance (30 euros per rider).
In that case, plan an arrival the day before the ride (04:00 pm for the
people who arrived from Paris and 06:00 pm from Toulouse), and a departure
12.00 am the day after the ride.
That will let you the time to visit the Pech Merl caves - to be organized
and paid directly on site.
Lot and Dordogne experiences mild winters
and moderate summers, which can be long and very warm at times, making
it the best time of year to visit Lot and Dordogne.
Average summer daytime
highs range from 77°F to 95°F (25°C to 35°C) with occasional storms and
Spring and autumn are mild with a higher chance of rain while
in late spring heavy rainfall can occur. Winters are generally mild with
short periods of cold weather with frequent rain.
There are no specific health formalities and emergency medical treatment is as widely available in the country.
A valid passport is required of all foreigners entering France, except people living from a Schengen agreement country for who a valid ID card is enough.
All foreign citizens who wish to come to France must be able to present regulatory proof of the purpose of their stay, means of support and accommodation. In some cases, they need a visa to enter France. Visas must be applied for before leaving for France at a French consular office.
France is a member of European Union. No visa is required for citizens of other EU states.
No visa is required for US visitors staying less than 3 months.
Please check these informations at your local French embassy.
Ride in France (Absolu Voyages SARL), 2 place Charles de Gaulle 38200 Vienne FRANCE - Phone : +33 437 02 2000 - Fax : +33 437 02 2500
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