The ride traverses a region of spectacular scenery considered by National Geographic to be one of the world’s last unspoiled and undiscovered earthly paradises.
Begin in the fertile vineyards of Cahors with its famous Malbec grape, situated along the Lot valley. From here you ride into the more wild and wooded upper lands of Quercy plateau. Then climb higher up into the cliffs, above the Lot River with breathtaking views of the surrounding country and below.
Visit St. Cirq Lapopie, considered one of the most beautiful villages in all of France, as well as the superb prehistoric caves of Pech-Merle decorated with 14,000 year old Magdalenian paintings. Follow the picturesque Célé valley, stopping at the village of Saulliac Cabreret with their troglodyte houses and chateaux nestled against the towering cliffs.
The mixed breed horses used on this ride are well suited to their environment. These hardy horses stand 14-15.2 hh.
English, Western, and MacClellan type saddles with sheepskins, cruppers, saddlebags, breast collars and bridles with curb, or snaffle bits and hackamores are used. Most horses neck rein. The tacking and un-tacking of the horses is taken care of by the staff.
Meet at Bergerac Railway Station at 3:30 pm and transfer to your first very comfortable accommodation (about 1h30 drive). Dinner will be a regional meal with excellent local wines.
After breakfast and allocation of the horses, you ride East, through the woods and many of the area’s vineyards. You will stop at the Chateau Chambert, an award-winning Cahors vineyard that has produced Malbec wine since the 12th century. Before lunch, you visit the cellar and taste the Chateau’s wines. The afternoon ride heads off through vineyards, forests and the hillsides of the area, stopping at a very quiet secluded chateau where you will spend the night. Diner will be at a gastronomic restaurant in a medieval village nearby.
Today the ride crosses the calcareous and wild plateau of the Lot with a mid-day stop at the small 13th century village of Le Montat. After a long morning ride, enjoy a marvelous lunch and then a short ride in the afternoon on through varied countryside, valleys and oak woods to arrive at Chateau Hautes-Serres, another award-winning Malbec vineyard, for a visit and a taste of wine. After the wine tasting, you will be transferred to a nearby charming B & B located in the center of the Quercy black truffle region. At dinner you will taste the “Black Diamond” truffle which is world renowned, famous for its delicate and rich flavor. The truffles are paired with wonderful local French wines, making this a very special dining experience. Enjoy your overnight stay at this B&B.
Your day starts with a short morning ride to the small village of Cremps. There will be time for a quiet walk around the village and its 12th century church before having a delicious picnic lunch in the village. In the afternoon, ride north to the wondrous 13th century village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, perched on a cliff face with a commanding view of the Lot valley. After settling in at your hotel in the village, you can visit this village which is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Dinner will be at one of the local restaurants where you will dine on traditional French cuisine.
Today you stay close to the Lot River, riding off to the Chateau de Cénevières, an 11th century chateau with an impressive addition and renovations from the 14th and 16th centuries. Further east along the Lot valley, the day’s ride will cross the plateaus above the valley before arriving at the chateau for lunch. After lunch, you will have a guided tour of this private chateau. Then continue along the river valley back to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, where you enjoy another evening in this beautiful village. (As an option: possibility of a day off from riding).
A spectacular morning ride along the cliffs, crossing the Lot River, to the prehistoric caves of Pech-Merle, decorated with Magdalenian rupestrine (on the stone) paintings. Visit the caves after enjoying another picnic lunch. In the afternoon you ride through the beautiful Célé valley before stopping for the day in Cabreret. The peaceful village of Cabreret is built in the middle of a cirque of cliffs, with amazing troglodyte houses. This evening you will transfer to Cahors to spend your final night and farewell dinner.
Your accommodation is very near the Cahors train station, so you may depart from there at any time. Before to leave Cahors, it’s recommend to take the time to enjoy wander through the tiny streets of the medieval downtown on this Saturday morning market day. Also don’t miss the great opportunity to see and walk on the Valentré Bridge, a remarkable example of medieval architecture built on the Lot River at the 14th century and now registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela.
This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
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The guide was an excellent leader and host. While our hotels and meals were excellent, he also prepared picnic lunches that were 4-Star! The venue for the trip was both exciting and interesting, stopping to visit castles, chateaus, caves and villages of great historical importance in French history. It was an unforgettable... Read more