Give the kids a great day out
at Quercyland, near Souillac. Attractions include a water park with slides, inflatables, a maze, mini-golf and trampolines. Also on the same site treetop adventure trails of differing heights and difficulty. There is also the opportunity to hire canoes and kayaks, or mountain bikes, or for something more sedate to take a boat trip on the Dordogne river.
claimed to be the second most visited site in France, is a 40 minute drive to the east, and is a must on the list of things to do! Clinging to the rock face, cliff-hugging Rocamadour hangs almost 500 feet above the Alzou Canyon, one of the most extraordinary settings in France! A walk around the Chateau walls with views down into village is a must if you have a good head for heights.
is a superb medieval village about 30km away from the house. Nestling at the feet of a high cliff in a curl of the Dordogne river, the village dates back to pre-historic times and children will love the troglodyte cave houses at the top of the village. This is also a good place to enjoy the Dordogne river. Either enjoy a relaxing trip in a 'gabarre', a traditional river boat, or hire a canoe and take in the scenery at your own pace.
Built in a tight meander of the River Lot, and surrounded by a ring of hills, the old town of Cahors is nicely contained and easy to explore. Don't miss the warren of little streets, the lovely cathedral, and the bridge spanning the River Lot. Market days are Wednesday and Saturday. You can also follow the trail of 'Secret Gardens'; these are 29 separate gardens around the city, each with a different theme. And wine lovers, don't forget to sample some of the delicious Cahors wines!
Although the house is just in the Lot region, sitting so close to the Dordogne border means that the '1001 Chateaux' of the Dordogne are well within reach. About 45 minutes away in the car, you will find a little nest of them with Chateau de Beynac above the pretty village of La Roque-Gageac, Chateau de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and its war museum, the box garden of Chateau de Marqueyssac, the Chateau des Milandes which was once owned by Josephine Baker and its museum dedicated to her.
Museum of the Automaton
The biggest museum of Automata in Europe can be found in Souillac. The collection dates from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
If you are staying at the end of July, why not book tickets for the Jazz Festival in Souillac?
The picturesque town of Sarlat
lies just to the north-west. It is very popular with visitors so can get pretty busy at times but the old town is a pleasure to visit. Call into the Tourist Office for a walking tour to guide you round - you might get lost in the myriad of lanes if not!
The Grottes de Cougnac caves near Gourdon were discovered in 1946, and there are beautiful rock formations and fine prehistoric paintings to see. Perfect for rainy days or real scorchers!
The splendid Bastide town of Domme
is strategically built on a hill that offers great views all around. The village is very picturesque and so has become very touristy. Try to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon if visiting in high season. The town is unusually built on a triangular site and has 3 fortified gates, part of the well preserved ramparts which date from the 13th century. There are some caves with stalactite-filled galleries underneath the market square, which provided the villagers with a useful refuge during times of attack.
Summer evenings in Martel
Head to Martel on a Wednesday evening in July and August and join in the dances that take place in the market square. Throughout the summer, there are plenty of festivals and exhibitions taking place in Martel, during the day and in the evenings.
Crafts in Martel
You will find a number of craft shops and galleries, amongst them a leather worker, a creator of modern stained glass and a restorer of ancient art-works for churches etc.
Tour of Martel, the town with 7 towers
Pick up the leaflet from the tourist office which takes you on a self guided tour of the town. Although small, the town has a lot of history as well as being very pretty. For example, Place Gambetta used to be the Place du Sel, where people would come to trade and buy the salt, brought from the Atlantic along the Dordogne River.
is a stunning village on the banks of the River Dordogne, just east of Martel, and is classed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'.
The town with the mark of the Middle Ages
Gourdon, to the south, has a very medieval feel to it. A fortified gate, half-timbered houses and narrow lanes twisting up to the esplanade where once the castle stood - a great place to explore.
Gourdon Market days
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, you will find local products and specialities such as truffles and foie gras, confits and breast of duck, lamb from the Causse, ceps, honey, chestnuts, walnut cake and goat cheeses.
The Padirac Gorge
is located just under 50km from the house. Visitors descend 75 metres via a lift or staircase before entering the cave system. 103m below ground, to be precise, flows an underground river where you board a boat to start the guided tour for 500m and then continue the tour by foot. Advisable to book before you go!
Anyone for a round of golf?
The 18 hole, par 67 course at Souillac is about half an hour away from the house, and is set in oak forests. There are reduced rates for under 25s. Other members of the party may like to investigate the tennis courts, swimming pool, restaurant or playground... and there is a Kids Club in summer too.
Have you visited La Pinière?
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