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Taste for France

PUBLISHED: 15:51 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010

Riverside beauty: The picturesque setting of Castelmoron

Riverside beauty: The picturesque setting of Castelmoron

LOT REGION by Nadia Sam-Daliri Fine-dining, river cruising and sampling the arts should be on the agenda, if you head to the Lot river region for a traditionally authentic taste of south-east France. Travelling from the Lot-et-Garonne, fa

LOT REGION

by Nadia Sam-Daliri

Fine-dining, river cruising and sampling the arts should be on the agenda, if you head to the Lot river region for a traditionally authentic taste of south-east France.

Travelling from the Lot-et-Garonne, famed for its foie gras and exquisite red wines, to the Lot Valley is a chance to take in the rural, culturally proud traditions of French cuisine and arts.

A cruise along the Lot river, very much the heart of the region, is a must and the surrounding cycle and walking paths, picnic areas and public chateaus make pleasant stops throughout the day.

Wine making is renowned in the region and a trip to the Domaine Lou Gaillot includes a tour of the vineyards, the production process and a highly enjoyable sample of the wines made there.

The region's duck and goose foie gras come in many varieties and lots of farmhouses welcome cruisers who can sample the delicacies in breakfast or lunch offers.

Shopping is limited to traditional food markets in many villages, but towns, Villeneuve and Cahors have many modern boutiques, and St-Cirq-Lapopie and Penne D'Agenais sell exquisite glassworks, sculpture, pottery and paintings.

All villages and towns have a varied selection of high quality cafes and restaurants, many of which use local produce and wines. Prices vary tremendously from £4-5 euros for a hearty meat and veg stew to £80 euros for three courses in chateaus such as the luxurious Chateau Mercues, in the Lot Valley.

You can sail 68km along the river in the Lot-et-Garonne and 83km in the Lot Valley and each trip takes anything from one to two weeks.

Many medieval villages date back to the 13th century and skilled renovation work has kept the architecture in pristine conditions. Even social housing in villages such as Penne D'Agenais is tastefully in tune with the traditional structure.

Old pilgrim routes are still commonly followed and some of the panoramic views of the river and surrounding vineyards are breath-taking.

There is currently no boat access from the river in the Lot-et-Garonne to the Lot Valley but renovation being carried out on the locks will soon open the entire route.

Holiday-makers can take a coach service from Fumel to Carhol in between the regions.

This is a perfect trip for couples and families wanting swimming and sailing but have had enough of generic European beaches.

Be prepared to be fairly adventurous with your food as many of the ingredients used are rich and meat-heavy but the selection of foie gras, goats' cheeses, truffles and fruit tarts are excellent.

It is not difficult to see why the Lot region is a creative haven for international artists and craftsmen.

The natural beauty of the river, rugged limestone cliffs and picturesque farmland are enhanced rather than hindered by the quaint medieval architecture.

nadia.sam-daliri@archant.co.uk

How to get there

Ryanair operates daily flights from London Stansted to Bergerac; London Stansted to Rodez.

Prices: from £7, tax included.

Book at www.ryanair.com

Tourist information for the Lot Valley and

Lot-et-Garonne:

L'Entente Vallée du Lot

111, Boulevard Gambetta

46 000 Cahors-France

Tel: +33(0)5 65 53 33 38

www.lotvalley.org.uk

valleedulot@wanadoo.fr

Lot

Comité Départemental du Tourisme

107, Quai Cavaignac-BP7

46001 Cahors Cedex-France

Tel : +33(0)5 65 35 07 09

www.tourisme-lot.com

info@tourisme-lot.com

Lot-et-Garonne

Comité Départemental du Tourisme

4, rue André Chénier-BP158

47005 Agen-France

Tel : +33(0)5 53 66 14 14

www.lot-et-garonne.fr

cdt47@wanadoo.fr

Maison de la France

Information Department Maison de la France

178 Piccadilly,

London, W1J 9AL

Call 09068 244 123

www.franceguide.com

info.uk@franceguide.com

Drop in to the French Travel Centre, Ground Floor, 178 Piccadilly (Mon-Fri: 10am - 6pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm)


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