Trotting through Lot fields
Sunny cliff ride in Lot
Ride through medieval villages in Lot
Ride alongside rivers in Lot
Getting ready after lunch break in Lot, France
Horses ready to ride in Lot, France
Riding through forests in Lot, France
Arriving at Priory de Espagnac on horseback
Picnic lunch  at Priory de Espagnac on riding tour of Lot, France
RIidng through orchards  in Lot, France
Getting to know your horse in the arena
Mounting up in the morning
Affectionate horses in Lot, France
Riding tour in Lot, France
Farm in Lot, France from the air
Bedroom 1 in gite  in Lot, France
Bedroom 2 in gite in Lot, France
Bedroom 3 in gite in Lot, France
Lounge area gite in Lot, France
Fireplace and indoor dining area gite in Lot, France
Terrace and pool deck gite in Lot, France
Swimming pool gite in Lot, France
Front view of gite in Lot, France
Back view of gite in Lot, France
Local wines in Lot, France
Your hosts Gwladys and Jeremy
Horse 1
Horse 2
Horse 3
Horses at rest in their paddocks Lot, France

This equestrian vacation in Lot region of Occitanie is a lovely combination of relaxed horseback riding with visiting some of the region’s most spectacular sights, and trying delicious local food. This hilly region of France is famed for its steep valleys, gorges and caves and there is evidence of prehistoric human activity all around. See the famous 20 000 year old cave paintings at Pech Merle and take a boat through the amazing underground rivers of Gouffre de Padirac.  The medieval town of Rocamadour perched in the cliffs and the village of St Cirq Lapopie are also on the agenda.

The horseback riding groups are small, and the hosts are warm and welcoming. Authentic food and wine in the comfortable traditional farmhouse, will make you feel at home in this part of rural France. Enjoy a gourmet restaurant visit on one evening and a regional wine tasting on another.  

Costs of excursions and single room options are included in the price. This vacation is also available as a short break and is also suitable for non riders.

There is also the option to book more horseback riding on site if wished.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from MB of Co. Limerick on 16/06/2023

Any other comments:
Sarah — perfect holiday — riding - excursions great - a lovely balance for very enjoyable week - guests very sociable . Jeremy - super cook - delicious food — he’s also great tour guide - all round very nice person .
Gwladys - our riding guide - great -
Both of them really eager to please us .
I would take a similar holiday again .
All the best - thanks.
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1 Saturday
Arrive at the farm in the late afternoon. After a tour of the property and a first meeting with our horses, share a drink and dinner.

Day 2 Sunday (1hrs riding)
After breakfast, get to know your horse and guide with a relaxing morning ride around the property.
Lunch is taken on the farm, weather permitting on the terrace outside.
Sight-seeing in the afternoon is a visit to the beautiful medieval village of St Cirq Lapopie, which sits on the top of a dramatic cliff face. The quaint vernacular stone buildings with brown tiled roofs are listed and preserved in their origional condition. The narrow streets are flower filled and the many art galleries and craft workshops give the place a bohemian feel. Dinner at the farm.

Day 3 Monday (3hr30 riding)
After breakfast set off for a lovely day's riding through the forest and grasslands of the rewilded Puy-Blanc, which is now a protected natural habitat on the site of an old clay quarry. Picnic beside the lake and watch the wildlife. 
Relax at the farm before our gourmet dinner with a wine tasting included. 

Day 4 Tuesday (2hr30 riding)
Breakfast is followed by a morning ride on the Causse de Quercy National Park, where river gorges cut into the limestone plateau, up to the Menhir de Belinac, a prehistoric standing stone. Human activity has been in evidence in this area for thousands of years and after lunch at the farm we visit the vast and unforgetable Pech Merle cave network with its dramatic stalactite and stalagmite formations. The site boasts remarkable 20 000 year old prehistoric murals and is one of the few places which allow you to enter the cavern and actually experience the origional artworks. Dinner at the farm.

Day 5 Wednesday 
After breakfast, today's first excursion is to the spectacular Gouffre de Padirac, a 75m deep chasm which leads to a fantastic underground river cave network which we can explore by boat. 
We enjoy lunch in a traditional local restaurant before visiting the vertiginous ancient town of Rocamadour built into the gorge overlooking the Dordogne valley. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts many iconic religious buildings, and is on the 'Way of Saint James', a part of the Compostella Pilgrimage Route.
Return to the farm at the end of the afternoon for dinner and this evening we have a wine tasting and enjoy the local produce.

Day 6 Thursday (5hr riding)
After breakfast we have a full day of riding. Descending into the valley and then through the pretty French village of Corn, we ride past the mysterious spring of Bual, then take a forested trail which makes up another part of the Compostella Route. Lunch break at the Priory of Espagnac.
In the afternoon, ride up the south side of the valley to walk along the ridge and enjoy the far reaching views before returning home along a different route. In the evening we head to a gourmet restaurant for a farewell dinner.

Day 7 Friday
Departure after breakfast.

There is a ride only option and in place of the excursions, have free time instead to relax at the farm, or hire a car and explore the region at your own pace. 

It is also possible to extend your stay at the farmhouse to continue your exploration of this beautiful area. 
Advice is always available on the best sites to visit, restaurants to discover and accommodation options in the region. More riding can be booked onsite too.  

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The farm has about 30 horses from different sizes and breeds of which 12 are used for guests to ride. They are between 150 and 155cm (15-15.2hh) and very well adjusted - they live in a herd in large paddocks on the property.

Saddles are English and saddle bags are provided. Riding helmets are compulsory and available to borrow on site, body protectors are available for teenagers only.

The pace of the ride is fairly slow mainly due to the terrain which can be steep and hilly with beautiful views. There is usually trotting and occasionally cantering where possible. 

Your  guide is one of the owners, Gwladys, who is a riding instructor, behaviourist and long distance rider with more than 8000 km throughout the world on long journeys under her belt.


Rider requirements

Comfortable at a walk, trot and canter in open country on a good horse.

Competent child riders are welcome to ride along from the age of 12 onwards.

The weight limit for this ride is 90kg.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Jeremy is your host and responsible for all the fresh meals prepared on site. He is a professional equine photographer and will accompany you during the different cultural visits.

The meals are home cooked from regional fresh produce wtih regional dishes featured. There is one dinner out at a gourmet restaurant and one lunch out at a specialist cheese maker in Rocamadour. Vegetarian and Vegan diets can be catered for with advance notice. Please advise when booking.

The accommodation is in an historic building recently restored. The ground floor features original paving made of Causse stones,a traditional fireplace (Cantou) and a lounge area leading directly onto a shaded terrace, the private garden and a large swimming pool with wooden deck.

On the first floor there are three double bedrooms which can be anmde up wtih twin or double beds, allowing a maximum of 6 participants maximum. The whole atmosphere is warm and friendly. The bathroom, shared, is composed of two independent shower cubicles and the toilets are separate. There is a small reading area on the patio upstairs.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

Climate Summary

France is at its best in spring, though winter-like relapses aren't unknown. Summer is warm and can be very hot. Summer showers are possible. Autumn is very pleasant for riding although the days become shorter towards the end of October.

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in France and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

The emergency phone number in France is 112. If you need to contact other emergency services, call 15 (medical), 17 (police) or 18 (fire).

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health risk in this region.

Electricity

In France the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

There is good mobile reception and wifi is available.

Programmes

This is a set programme of 7d/6n and 4d riding starting Saturdays on set dates. It is possible to book tailor made programmes or other dates depending on availability, please enquire.
This location may be booked exclusively for private groups with a tailor made programme of riding and visits, please enquire.

Departure Dates

2024: Saturdays between the 30 Mar - 22 Jun and 31 Aug - 19 Oct.

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20247d/6n4based on 4+ riders1,129
20247d/6n4small group supplement 2 riders265
20247d/6n4small group supplement 3 riders88
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20247d/6n4based on 4+ riders1,289
20247d/6n4small group supplement 2 riders299
20247d/6n4small group supplement 3 riders99
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20247d/6n4based on 4+ riders1,469
20247d/6n4small group supplement 2 riders345
20247d/6n4small group supplement 3 riders115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20247d/6n4based on 4+ riders15,555
20247d/6n4small group supplement 2 riders3,619
20247d/6n4small group supplement 3 riders1,205
Recommended Reading

Theodore Zeldin ‘The French’,



Francoise Sagan ‘Bonjour Tristesse’,



Peter Mayle ‘A Year in Provence’ and ‘Toujours Provence’,



Louis Stevensons ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and



For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback, visit www.thelongridersguild.com. An excellent source of equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com  


Other Country Information

The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail.

The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity character in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year.

Food is very important in French culture, almost a passion. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French!

France is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for France is +33.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Toulouse
Transfer:
2024: €50 per person each way
Flight Guide:
London - Toulouse from £75 return
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