Do you want to discover the South-West of France? Then come and visit the Lot and its incredible medieval villages!
A destination still unknown in France, the Lot reveals its secrets to those who travel its beautiful villages of yesteryear. Frozen in time, the alleys of its medieval cities take us back to a time far from our daily lives.
But visiting the Lot also means experiencing strong emotions in the fresh air: on foot, by bike, or by kayak. Open your eyes wide to admire the immutable traces left by man and nature for millennia.
Travelvibe makes you discover the 9 essential things to do in the Lot.
The 9 Best Things To Do in The Lot Region, France
1. The Gouffre de Padirac
Start your stay by exploring the famous Gouffre de Padirac, located 8 km from Rocamadour. This unique chasm in Europe is a gaping hole 35 meters in diameter and 103 meters deep.
But don’t worry, the descent is easy with an elevator!
For 1h30, crisscross the underground river aboard a boat accompanied by a guide. This real exploration will take you to discover a giant stalactite of 60 meters: the Great Pendant.
How not to be in awe of this natural creation suspended above rain lake. A little further on, admire the hall of the Grand Dome and its concretions shaped for millions of years by nature.
Note: during the high season, this vertiginous chasm attracts many people. We, therefore, advise you to book in advance on the Gouffre de Padirac website to avoid a long queue.
Also, the temperature never rises above 13 ° C, so remember to take warm clothes.
2. Prehistoric sites
The Lot contains two prehistoric caves, witnesses of this ancestral era, in the cave of Cougnac, eight original representations of one meter fifty wide on the walls. Real masterpieces are exhibited before the eyes full of questioned visitors.
The cave of Pech Merle in the Célé valley is also a mecca of parietal art in France. For 1 hour, decipher the 70 animal and human figurations on the walls: handprints, deer heads, horses, and mammoths.
Everything that represented the life of prehistoric people 25,000 years ago is spread out in these seven rooms. For the anecdote, two children from the village discovered these incredible drawings in 1922!
To preserve these ancient paintings, visitors are limited to 700 people in July and August. So book your visit well in advance to have space. Just like the Gouffre de Padirac, don’t forget to cover yourself with warm clothes!
3. The Devil’s Bridge
The Bridge of Valentré in Cahors is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to the Way of Santiago de Compostela.
To better discover the history of one of the most beautiful medieval bridges, book a guided tour by the tourist office. Then stroll among the plane trees of the city of Cahors as well as in its famous vineyard.
As an anecdote, the architect of the Valentré bridge would have traded his soul to the devil for his help on the site, hence the nickname “devil’s bridge.”.
4. The must-see villages of the Lot
The medieval city of Rocamadour majestically overlooks the Canyon de l’Alzou from its rocky promontory. A true feat of balance, this hilltop village clings in the void to more than 120 meters high!
Seen from afar, the architecture of the houses fits perfectly between the steep rocks and the green forest.
We advise you to stroll quietly in these picturesque streets imbued with yesteryear charm. Rocamadour is also a high place of pilgrimage as part of the Way of Santiago de Compostela.
Thanks to him, the Saint-Sauveur church and the Saint-Amadour crypt are classified as Unesco World Heritage Sites.
If you have the opportunity, visit the city in September during the Mongolfiades. In the morning, the balloons soar at sunrise into the still thick mist of the valley.
The French decided by electing Saint-Cirq-Lapopie as the most beautiful village in France in 2012. When you go to this medieval village on the cliffside, you quickly understand why.
These alleys, where time has no hold, can be visited on foot to soak up their historic architecture better. Like a guardian of its rich history, its imposing church dominates the meanders of the river below.
Many artists have been drawing inspiration here for decades, thanks to the natural lights reflected on the stone of yesteryear.
Stroll to the rhythm of your steps, imagining the inhabitants of the time being active in their daily lives. This is also the Lot: to go back in time to contact its heritage that has not taken a wrinkle!
Another village that seems to live beyond the centuries is Figeac. It gives the impression of being frozen in time as its medieval streets are well preserved.
The whole historic center is composed of great houses of the Middle Ages just as authentic as each other. This perched city also offers a 360° panorama of the Lot valley and its river below. It is also an essential stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela!
5. Local specialties
Visiting the Lot also means discovering local specialties. Awaken your taste buds with candied duck, foie gras, truffle, cheese, or lamb from Quercy.
Whether at a starred table or in more intimate inns, local recipes can be enjoyed in conviviality.
Then stroll through the most beautiful markets of the Midi-Pyrénées in Cahors and Prayssac. The good smells of truffles mix with saffron and the scent of Rocamadour PDO.
You will not be able to leave there without tasting the wine of Cahors Malbec accompanied by a sweet quircinoise.
6. The Way of Santiago de Compostela
The Voie du Puy offers several stages in the Lot, particularly between Bach and Cahors. Pilgrims discover a route dotted with cathedrals, abbots, medieval bridges, and villages perched on the valleys.
This path is also to find oneself in communion with oneself and the surrounding nature!
7. The greenways of the Lot Valley
The Lot Valley is the ideal playground to enjoy a bike ride. It counts 3 Cycle Routes and 2 greenways through preserved landscapes.
Take the unmissable Véloroute Vallée du Lot and its 160 km of marked paths between Cahors and Aiguillon. This route is perfect for families, as it has little difference in altitude through the villages.
To visit the Lot by bicycle is to admire hidden corners of nature to the sound of birdsong.
8. Sport in the middle of nature
The Lot Valley captivates the hearts of all nature-loving sportsmen. Kayak along the water on the river Lot, Dordogne and Célé.
Otherwise, measure yourself by the stone during a climbing session or hike in the forest. So many sensational experiences to live intense emotions in breathtaking landscapes!
9. The Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park
Stroll through the vast Regional Natural Park of the Causses du Quercy in the Lot Valley. On the program, hiking or cycling in this green lung.
It even obtained the Geopark label in 2017 for the richness of its geological heritage. A place not to be missed when you visit the Lot!
Things to do in Lot, France
- Visit medieval castles: Cénevières, Bonagui, Castelnau-Bretenoux;
- Caving in the underground;
- Wine tasting in the vineyards of Cahors;
- Discover many medieval villages: Autoire, Martel, Loubressac or Carennac;
- Observe the stars in the purest sky in France, in the Causses du Quercy National Park.
How to get to the Lot?
The Lot has no airport, but there are two nearby. Brive airport in the Dordogne valley at 1 hour and Toulouse airport at 2 hours. If you want to fly, you can compare offers via our partner Skyscanner to find the best prices!
The most convenient is to come by car. Indeed, the A20 motorway serves the Lot very well. The Valley is located 6 hours from Paris, 1 hour from Toulouse, 4h 30min from Lyon, and 5h 30min from Nantes.
This will make it easier for you to move around during your holiday from one point to another.
The train is also a softer alternative to visiting the Lot. The Paris-Toulouse line passes through Le Lot in just 5 hours. The city of Bordeaux is located 4 hours by train.
To get around then, take SNCF buses. They serve the main villages of the department.
Where to stay in the Lot?
The Lot has a diversity of accommodations according to the tastes and desires. Opt for accommodation near the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park if you prefer nature.
Cahors also occupies a central place to visit the south of the Lot and Rocamadour to explore the north. If you want to live a unique experience in the middle of nature, book an unforgettable night in the trees or a bubble.
Accommodations, hotels, guest rooms, or cottages punctuate the Voie du Puy. The Lot Valley offers quality services to hikers.
The department also has several motorhomes, particularly in Cahors or Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.
Whatever your desire for the night, you can find the rare pearl by searching our hotel comparator. If you prefer the “like at home” experience, you can also choose to rent an Airbnb!
You will understand that visiting the Lot is about discovering an array of great activities to enjoy during your vacation. Let yourself embark on a timeless adventure between lush nature and medieval villages.