Boating Holidays Masthead
Boating Holidays Masthead

River Lot Boating Holidays

The upper River Lot is quite unlike any other area in France. Its clear waters meander through wide valleys and steep gorges. Ancient castles, medieval villages, sheer limestone cliffs, and cascading waterfalls accompany the winding river.

Spectacular and breathtaking scenery and a green landscape with orchards, vineyards and hillside pine forests provide a memorable cruise location in one of France’s most unspoilt regions.

Lot Area Map

Our cruiser boat base at Douelle lets you explore the River Lot in both directions. Travel west to Luzech, the last Gallic town to hold out against Caesar, situated in a great loop of the river, and home to the boatmen who once transported the local Cahors wine by barge to Bordeaux.

Head east to Mercuès with its imposing 7th century castle towering over the river. Then cruise to the region’s capital, Cahors, and pass under the medieval Valentré Bridge, an amazing structure with three towers over the river. The penichette base at Cahors allows a journey along the navigable River Lot to be enjoyed in a week.

This is the home of foie gras, truffles, confit of duck and goose and the renowned Cahors wine. At Arcambal you can sample La Biere d'Olt at a traditional brewery close to the river.

Cruise along the foot of the Bouzies cliffs and gaze up at the 7th century stone village of St Cirq Lapopie perched on a rocky slope above. Discover this medieval village and its timber fronted houses, home to craftsmen and artists throughout the ages.

The prehistoric cave drawings of Pech-Merle in a huge cavern close to the town of Cabrerets are a cycle ride from the river. The caves are also noted for remarkable stalagmites.

River Lot - Spectacular Natural Beauty

Further east, the fortified village of Larnagol dominates the river, and the chateau at Calvignac is well worth a cycle ride.

The River Lot is an ideal one week cruise, with a short break from Douelle also worthwhile. The variety of wildlife will give added pleasure - otters, kingfishers and heron, perhaps eagles. For the energetic, canoes and kayaks can be hired along the river.

The locks are unmanned but straightforward to operate by boat crews. We recommend the Lot for boaters who have some experience - it’s rewarding boating holidays on a spectacular river.

Please note that the River Lot can occasionally flood, and in that event it may be necessary to transfer you to another suitable base. We have cruiser routes in the lower River Lot area - see France maps for information.

Area Highlights

Highlights of the Lot Region

  • Delightful natural scenery and wildlife
  • Prehistoric cave drawings at the Pech-Merle Caves
  • St-Cirq Lapopie - a honey-coloured village
  • Regional specialities such as foie gras and wine
  • Canal towpaths cut into limestone cliffs
  • Popular area for watersports
  • Cahor's 14th Century Pont Valentré
Saint Cirq Lapopie

Useful Information:

  • There are no lock keepers on the River Lot, but the manual locks are straighforward to operate. Locks are open on public holidays in this region.
  • Due to the sometimes strong river currets, we do not recommend this region if this is your first boating holiday.

Customer Reviews

We had a week exploring the Lot river in France. Amazingly beautiful landscape. We saw an abundance of wildlife; otters, kingfishers, wild boar, adders, herons and fish of all sizes. It was really peaceful boating and especially at night when moored in the countryside. The river was lovely for swimming and the medieval towns are very picturesque. We learned a lot about driving a boat and became very good at knots, locks and mooring. JF - Douelle - Douelle
Just a note to thank you for the arrangements with our recent holiday – commencing at Douelle for 7 days hire. It all went superbly – the boat was all as promised and even the weather did its bit to make for a great family holiday for nine of us, 5 adults and 4 youngsters. The service offered by your team at Douelle was first class
FQ – Douelle and back in South West France

Lot Boating Map

View Routes from:

Boat holidays from Cahors

Cahors is an alluring old town with pastel-coloured buildings lining the little squares of the ancient medieval quarter, criss-crossed by a labyrinth of alleyways. The delightfully tranquil Secret Gardens of Cahors are a fascinating way to explore the heritage of the town and transport visitors back to the 13th and 14th centuries, a golden age for Cahors.

The seven-span Pont Valentré with its three fortified towers is one of France’s most iconic medieval bridges and the well-preserved mostly Romanesque cathedral is well worth a visit. The Cahors vineyards have many estates that can be visited to sample the local wines.

Out and Back Routes

Cahors - Luzech - Vers - Saint Cirq Lapopie - Larnagol

Return Trip • 1 Week • 150km • 34 Locks • 27hrs

Cahors - Douelle - Luzech - Arcambal - Saint Cirq Lapopie

Return Trip • 1 Week • 89km • 17 Locks • 21hrs

Cahors - Vers - Saint-Gery - Saint Cirq Lapopie

Return Trip • 1 Week • 66km • 22 Locks • 21hrs

Cahors - Douelle - Mercuès - Luzech - Cahors - Vers - Saint-Gery - Bouzies - Saint Cirq Lapopie - Lapopie - Larnagol

Return Trip • 10 Days • 150km • 34 Locks • 30hrs

Cahors - Mercuès - Douelle - Luzech

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 56km • 6 Locks • 12hrs

Cahors - Arcambal - Saint Gery - Luzech

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 40km • 16 Locks • 16hrs

Puy L’Evêque
River Lot Boat Hire

Boat holidays from Douelle

The village of Douelle is located on the River Lot in the south of France. Douelle was famous for its skilled boatmen and a Gabarra is hung in the local church to remind villagers of the history. Today, Douelle is known as the ‘Vineyard Harbour of the Lot Valley’. It is a great place for outdoor activities as you explore the stunning hillside landscape.

Out and Back Routes

Douelle - Luzech - Cregols - Douelle

Return Trip • 1 Week • 128km • 28 Locks • 27hrs

Cruise west from Douelle to Luzech with its 13th century church before heading east to the the imposing castle on the limestone cliffs at Mercues. Explore the pretty garden trail and narrow cobbled streets of Cahors and visit the 7th century stone village of St Cirq Lapopie, perched high upon the cliffs

Douelle - Vers - Douelle

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 64km • 16 Locks • 12hrs

Enjoy the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife of the Lot, and climb to the top of the cliffs for the best views. Explore pretty villages and relax in the medieval market square at Cahors with a glass of the local wine and some delicious food.

Pont Valentre
River Lot

Please note that hours suggested above are approximate. There are no lock keepers in this area, but locks are easy to operate. This region is recommended for people with some boating experience since rains in the mountains can affect river flow.

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