About Lot

Savour the Lot River’s enchanting natural beauty

Trees line the shores of the scenic River Lot, giving way to medieval hilltop villages, lush vineyards and spectacular limestone cliffs amongst the wilderness. The river makes a unique venue for boating holidays in France. Outdoor pursuits like cycling, swimming and fishing go hand in hand with fine dining, browsing in open-air markets and sightseeing at historic châteaux!

 

Karte zeigt, wo der Lot in Frankreich liegt

If you are unable to find your perfect holiday on our website please contact our Boating Experts who may be able to help create a bespoke offering for you.

Lot map

Lot region map

 = Le Boat Base         = Navigable river          = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

Wildlife

Otter sleeping on its back

On a River Lot cruise, you might see golden eagles, red kite hawks, golden orioles, singing nightingales and cute otters often play along the banks. The Lot Valley is also home to colourful rare orchids and an abundance of butterflies!

Fishing

Carp on a plate

Try night fishing for wild carp on designated sections of the Lot River. You can catch some really big ones! Black bass are also a popular catch when river boat fishing on the Lot. Roach, rudd, perch, pike and zander haunt these waters too.

Swimming

Swiming in the Lot

The Lot is a fantastic river swimming spot. Crystal clear (but often chilly) waters invite you to take a dip on a hot summer day. After that, relax on your top deck with a chilled drink.

Watersports

Oar in water

Canoeing and kayaking on the River Lot is a popular watersport holiday pursuit! Why not tie up and hire a canoe or kayak for a pleasant afternoon exploring along the river and getting close to nature?

Useful information

Download our Region Guide

Check out our region guideWe've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

Rising from the Cévennes Mountains, River Lot, the 7th longest in France, meanders 491 kilometres (305 miles) through fertile valleys and gorges cut through limestone plateaus before merging with the Garonne River near Aiguillon. The water follows the contours of the land, creating deep loops and easy bends that are a joy to navigate. In fact, one of the beauties of a barge holiday on the River Lot is that you get to follow a natural watercourse.

 

As a mountain river, the Lot has very few major tributaries as it flows west past age-old cities and towns — Mende, Capdenac, Cajac and Cahors. You can see at a glance on a River Lot map, the most significant one is the Truyère, which is dammed to produce hydroelectric power. The River Lot drains a basin of about 11,400 square kilometres (4,400 miles).

River Lot was once navigable for much of its length, spawning the growth of villages and towns throughout the valley. However, the river was closed to navigation in 1926 and the lock system fell into disrepair. In 1989 work began on opening the upper section, which is the one you’ll explore, a stretch extending 72 kilometres (45 miles) from Luzech to Larnagol. A lower section of the Lot from Aiguillon to the vicinity of St. Vite opened for business in 2001.

We've partnered up with some of the best local businesses from the towns and villages along the Lot to help you get the most out of your Le Boat vacation. 

Discover our range of exclusive offers, only available to Le Boat customers. 

Access to shore power on the Lot is severely restricted. The river is sometimes subject to flooding, which would require us to transfer you to another base.

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to find out if there are any scheduled cruising restrictions that will affect your holiday plans.

There are no lock keepers on the River Lot, and all the locks are manual and user-operated. Locks are fun and operation is simple, but we recommend that at least two members of you crew have a good level of fitness.

Couples travelling alone should allow extra time for slower progress and should be mindful that one person will have to operate both gates at each lock by themselves, while the other drives the boat. Most couples choose to wait for another boat, so they can travel through locks together and share the effort required. Should you have any questions or difficulties, Le Boat is at hand to provide you with helpful advice. There are 17 locks on the upper River Lot.

 

Opening hours: Locks open every day from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

 

Public holidays: Locks are open on holidays in this region. All locks are closed on: 1st November.

You can moor in ports. However, there are also some lovely country mooring areas on the river away from villages that will give you a chance to enjoy the solitude of the Lot Valley. Some have picnic tables. Moor with the bow facing the current, and run lines to keep the stern off to prevent the boat from going aground if the water level lowers during the night.

To find out how to get to our base in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available there or nearby, click on the base below:

  • Hire of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • Optional holiday extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour.
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Interactive map of Lot

Bases  = Le Boat base  Chateau = Point of interest

Great to see...

Once a Gallic stronghold thanks to its natural barriers, Luzech is a now pretty and welcoming town where you will have a good time visiting the sights, like the old castle tower and the gothic church, Saint-Pierre.

Caïx is a beautiful village. Stop here to walk the streets to see old houses covered by ivy. If you ask, you can visit the Lafon vineyards, which are really pretty.

Parnac is a charming little town.  The Saint-Saturnin church is a delight to see. During the summer, the Castle Saint-Didier de Parnac is open for to vistors and wine tasting! Why not try it?

Caillac is a small and quiet village. The downtown area has a man-made lake that's terrific for fishing.  Visitors love to observe the happennings in town and taking in the views of the surrounding countryside.

Douelle is a welcoming village, surrounded by glorious French countryside. Visit the beautiful church or try out the good restaurants in town

Must see
Uva in un vigneto

Mercuès is a green and leafy place where you can enjoy a relaxing walk around the town. The Saint Germain church is a pleasure to visit. During the summer, the Mercuès Castle is also open and offers wine-tasting.

Surrounded by a verdant forest, Pradines is a charming village full of history. Come here and visit one of the four churches that the city owns. Walk through this typical town and try one of the good restaurants.

Must see
Pont Valentré in Cahors

Cahors is the largest city in the area where you'll discover impressive architecture inherited from the middle ages. Downtown, you will enjoy walking along the flower-lined streets and seeing the old timbered houses, which create a particularly charming atmosphere.

Laroque-les-Arcs is a lovely town built in a particular architectural style, typical of the area. See the old church, des Récollets, and the charming chapel, Saint-Roch. If you stay here, try the excellent restaurants downtown.

Savanac is a beautiful green town along the Lot. Moor here to discover a picturesque town; there are good views everywhere you look.

Arcambal is a typically quaint town where you'll discover vestiges of the past, like the fortified ruins now covered by vegetation. The old Bouquet Castle is also a great sight to see, as is the impressive church Saint-Antoine, built in the 15th century.

Vers is a peaceful town that you will love. Discover an old typical village with verdant vegetation and waterfalls. Check out the mediaval houses in the village, and enjoy a visit to the church.

Saint-Géry is a quiet village along the Lot. Moor here and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds you.

Must see
Der Treidelpfad bei Bouzies

Although Bouziès is a small village, it is home to many beautiful sights to see. Moor here and take a walk along the towpath, a path carved into the rock along the canal from where the views are wonderful. Or cross the suspension bridge and look out over the Lot; this alone will make your stop worthwhile.

Must see
Street in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, the whole village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is considered a museum. Walking in town, you will marvel at the veiw over the Lot. At night, the illuminated church lights up the valley.

Tour-de-Faure is a shining and peaceful village with many old buildings. Walk along the paths around the village, enjoy the quietness of the place, and admire the untouched beauty of the area.

Cénevières is a quiet and pretty town along the Lot.  Moor here and ride or stroll along the walking paths. The impressive castle is sometimes open to visitors and worth a vist if it is.

Larnagol is a charming village, typical to the area. Take time to wander through this lovely fortified town, which was built centuries ago.

Itinerary suggestions

Our boating holidays allow you the freedom to stop when you want and take each day as it comes. However, you might like to be guided by one of our day-by-day suggested itineraries, complete with estimated cruising times and restaurant recommendations. You can follow it religiously or just use it for ideas – whatever 'floats your boat'. Please bear in mind that our itineraries are just suggestions. Cruising times are estimates and access to waterways, attractions and restaurants are all subject to availability at time of cruising.

Route suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Bouziès towpath

The Lot Valley Cruise

Douelle
Douelle
Caillac
Parnac
Caïx
Luzech
Mercuès
Pradines
Cahors
Laroque-les-Arcs
Savanac
Arcambal
Vers
Saint-Géry
Bouziès
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
Tour-de-Faure
Cénevières
Lanargol
Douelle

28 hr(s) of cruising

128km 34 locks 7 nights

The Lot Valley Cruise

Douelle RETURN via Luzech & Crégols

Douelle RETURN via Luzech & Larnagol

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

You ease the boat away from busy Cahors and head off on another day of your Lot River boating vacation in France, enjoying the impressive scenery. You crane your neck to see a hawk flying above craggy limestone cliffs, and in the distance Mercues castle perches atop a cliff. Pretty villages and grand châteaux dot the banks, tempting you to go ashore.

Please note: All locks are manual and user-operated. There are no lock keepers on the River Lot. As such, a good level of fitness is required from at least two crew members.

Top highlights:

  • Fishing in Caillac's man-made lake
  • The history and wines of Cahors - be sure to see the famous Pont Valentré! 
  • Vers' abundance of medieval houses
  • Views over the Lot from Bouziès 
  • Saint Cirq-Lapopie's illuminated church

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Douelle: Douelle is a welcoming village, surrounded by glorious French countryside. Visit the beautiful church or try out the good restaurants in town.
  • Caillac: Caillac is a small and quiet village. The downtown area has a man-made lake that's terrific for fishing. Visitors love to observe the happennings in town and taking in the views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Parnac: Parnac is a charming little town. The Saint-Saturnin church is a delight to see. During the summer, the Castle Saint-Didier de Parnac is open to vistors for wine tasting! Why not try it?
  • Caïx: Caïx is a beautiful village. Stop here to walk the streets to see old houses covered by ivy. If you ask, you can visit the Lafon vineyards, which are really pretty.
  • Luzech: Once a Gallic stronghold thanks to its natural barriers, Luzech is a now a welcoming town where you will have a good time visiting the sights, like the old castle tower and the gothic church, Saint-Pierre.
  • Mercuès: Mercuès is a green and leafy place where you can enjoy a relaxing walk around the town. The Saint Germain church is a pleasure to visit. During the summer, the Mercuès Castle is also open and offers wine-tasting.
  • Pradines: Surrounded by a verdant forest, Pradines is a charming village full of history. Come here and visit one of the four churches that the city owns. Walk through this typical town and try one of the good restaurants.
  • Cahors: Cahors is the largest city in the area where you'll discover impressive architecture inherited from the middle ages. Downtown, you will enjoy walking along the flower-lined streets and seeing the old timbered houses, which create a particularly charming atmosphere.
  • Laroque-les-Arcs: Laroque-les-Arcs is a lovely town built in a particular architectural style, typical of the area. See the old church, des Récollets, and the charming chapel, Saint-Roch. If you stay here, try the excellent restaurants downtown.
  • Savanac: Savanac is a beautiful green town along the Lot. Moor here to discover a picturesque town; there are good views everywhere you look.
  • Arcambal: Arcambal is a typically quaint town where you'll discover vestiges of the past, like the fortified ruins now covered by vegetation. The old Bouquet Castle is also a great sight to see, as is the impressive church Saint-Antoine, built in the 15th century.
  • Vers: Vers is a peaceful town that you will love. Discover an old typical village with verdant vegetation and waterfalls. Check out the medieval houses in the village, and enjoy a visit to the church.
  • Saint-Géry: Saint-Géry is a quiet village along the Lot. Moor here and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds you.
  • Bouziès: Although Bouziès is a small village, it is home to many beautiful sights to see. Moor here and take a walk along the towpath, a path carved into the rock along the canal from where the views are wonderful. Or cross the suspension bridge and look out over the Lot; this alone will make your stop worthwhile.
  • Saint-Cirq-Lapopie: Classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, the whole village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is considered a museum. Walking in town, you will marvel at the view over the Lot. At night, the illuminated church lights up the valley.

28 hr(s) of cruising

128km 34 locks 7 nights
Arches of Pont Valentré in the Lot

The Pont Valentré Short Break

Douelle
Douelle
Mercuès
Pradines
Cahors
Laroque-les-Arcs
Savanac
Arcambal
Vers
Douelle

13 hr(s) of cruising

64km 16 locks 4 nights

The Pont Valentré Short Break

Douelle RETURN via Vers

 Douelle RETURN via Vers

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

You chose the Lot River for something different, a unique take on boating vacations in France, and now that you’re out on the water you smile happily because you made the right choice. Limestone cliffs and narrow gorges compete with stunning hilltop castles for the eye’s attention. Forests line the shores, and picturesque villages tempt you to stay.

Please note: All locks are manual and user-operated. There are no lock keepers on the River Lot. As such, a good level of fitness is required from at least two crew members.

Top highlights:

  • Wine tasting in Mercuès Castle
  • Pradines' charming village and surrounding forest 
  • The chapel and cuisine of Laroque-les-Arcs
  • The history and wines of Cahors - be sure to see the famous Pont Valentré!
  • Vers' abundance of medieval houses

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your holiday:

  • Douelle: Douelle is a welcoming village, surrounded by glorious French countryside. Visit the beautiful church or try out the good restaurants in town.
  • Mercuès: Mercuès is a green and leafy place where you can enjoy a relaxing walk around the town. The Saint Germain church is a pleasure to visit. During the summer, the Mercuès Castle is also open and offers wine-tasting.
  • Pradines: Surrounded by a verdant forest, Pradines is a charming village full of history. Come here and visit one of the four churches that the city owns. Walk through this typical town and try one of the good restaurants.
  • Cahors: Cahors is the largest city in the area where you'll discover impressive architecture inherited from the middle ages. Downtown, you will enjoy walking along the flower-lined streets and seeing the old timbered houses, which create a particularly charming atmosphere.
  • Laroque-les-Arcs: Laroque-les-Arcs is a lovely town built in a particular architectural style, typical of the area. See the old church, des Récollets, and the charming chapel, Saint-Roch. If you stay here, try the excellent restaurants downtown.
  • Savanac: Savanac is a beautiful green town along the Lot. Moor here to discover a picturesque town; there are good views everywhere you look.
  • Arcambal: Arcambal is a typically quaint town where you'll discover vestiges of the past, like the fortified ruins now covered by vegetation. The old Bouquet Castle is also a great sight to see, as is the impressive church Saint-Antoine, built in the 15th century.
  • Vers: Vers is a peaceful town that you will love. Discover an old typical village with verdant vegetation and waterfalls. Check out the medieval houses in the village, and enjoy a visit to the church.

13 hr(s) of cruising

64km 16 locks 4 nights