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!

 

Is this your ideal destination?                   BOOK NOW           

Want to see our route suggestions?   EXPLORE 

Map showing where Lot boating region is in France

Find your bearings...

Lot region map

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

The perfect boating region for...

Wildlife

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

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

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

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

A bit of background

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.

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.

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.

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 (by the litre in Scotland).
  • 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

Download our region guide

We'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

Interactive map of Lot

  = Le Boat base       = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
Grapes on a vine

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.

Must see
Pont Valentre 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.

Must see
Het trekpad bij 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Douelle RETURN via Vers

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

13 hr(s) of cruising

64km 16 lock(s) 4 nights

Douelle RETURN via Vers

You chose the Lot River for something different, a unique take on boating holidays 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.

13 hr(s) of cruising

64km 16 lock(s) 4 nights

Douelle RETURN via Luzech & Crégols

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

26 hr(s) of cruising

128km 28 lock(s) 7 nights

Douelle RETURN via Luzech & Crégols

You ease the boat away from busy Cahors and head off on another day of your Lot River boating holiday 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.

 

Notes: On the River Lot, all the locks are manual and user-operated, and there are no lock-keepers. As such, at least two members of your crew should have a good level of fitness.

26 hr(s) of cruising

128km 28 lock(s) 7 nights
Added on 19 September 2018

Karin Elliott said

It was great considering the language barrier as well. The boat was clean and the run-through quite thorough although a lot of information to take in all at once. Would have been beneficial to be advised that hiring a boat with thrusters would be a better choice for those of us without experience. A great 'starter' with only 3 nights. Now we'll be more confident next time we do it. Loved the serenity of being on the water. A tricky spot near Mercues but otherwise easy.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Crusader
Added on 01 September 2018

David Clarke said

THIS IS ARE THIRD LE BOAT AND THE RIVER LOT WAS BY FAR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL. WE HAD THE NEW HORIZON BOAT AND ALTHOUGH THE BED ROOMS WERE A LITTLE CRAMPED IF WAS STILL A VERY COMFORTABLE BOAT. HOPEFULLY OFF TO CANADA IN 2020. EXCELLENT. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE LOT.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Horizon 4
Added on 09 July 2018

Konstantin Lanin said

Well organized team, very helpful and responsive , good introduction, briefing and training. We used Horizon-2 Boat , new, perfect condition but in reality good for family with 2 children (4 people). Hope we'll do it again when our kid get a bit bigger, he is just 4 years old to early for such adventure with so many manual locks :-) The personnel at the Douelle base were very responsive and helpful. Good and efficient training even for people with first time experience on the Boat trip like I was .
READ MORE
Dear Mr Lanin,
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are delighted to learn you enjoyed your cruise on the River Lot with us. Your comments have been forwarded to the Douelle base team.
We appreciate your feedback and hope to welcome you on board with us again soon!
Best wishes, The Le Boat team.
Douelle - Douelle
Horizon 2
Added on 04 July 2018

Megan Belt said

The crew at Douelle was top notch. Our boat was ready when we arrived and team members offered good information and answered all questions. They were available throughout our cruise to answer any questions by phone. They were very responsive when we had a small issue with a clogged bow thruster and immediately sent out a tech to fix the issue. We thoroughly enjoyed our week on the Lot. There were many places to moor up and have lunch, walk around small towns. We particularly enjoyed Cahors, Vers and St Cirque. We had some wild weather the week we cruised and it made the manual locks challenging in a few places. It helped that we had people with boating experience on board. We hired the beautiful Horizon 5, envied by many when we moored for the evening, but a bit of a behemoth when maneuvering into locks and tight moorings.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Horizon 5
Added on 02 May 2018

Dmitrii Miroshnikov said

Very nice trip, excellent boat. Definitely would recommend it. Very nice trip, excellent boat. Definitely would recommend it.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Horizon 2
Added on 06 October 2017

Nico Botha said

Very professional and helpfull Good value for money and although the boat was compact, it was convenient
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Caprice
Added on 25 September 2017

Tania van Remoortere said

The reception at Douelle was efficient, friendly and professional. The initial reservation experience with the Cape Town office with Dianne was excellent. The boating experience was brilliant and the boat was in very good working order. Excellent service and goof value for money
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Calypso
Added on 18 September 2017

Hugh Fairfull-Smith said

They were efficient at securing the booking . They were not so easy to engage about finer points of the hire , probably because they have never been to that part of France ! A great base ! Staff were most helpful and supportive . The best base we have been to out of four . The river Lot is a wonderful place with so much to see , we really enjoyed our 2 weeks .
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Royal Mystique A
Added on 18 September 2017

Terry Hiner said

The office service was excellent, very helpful and informative. Did the cruise in September and the Lot River was very scenic, quiet, not many boats on the river, the locks were a lot of fun to work, the mooring sites were not over crowded, only spent one week and was not enough time to enjoy the many villages and towns along the way.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Calypso
Added on 21 August 2017

Zarna Rostant said

Great for all the pre-holiday advice but the base could have been a little more enthusiastic and welcoming. The Vision 3 is a beautiful boat, well apportioned, comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms with more than adequate storage. The salon is fabulous and the upper deck large and comfortable. An absolutely super boat for a party of 6.
READ MORE
Douelle - Douelle
Vision 3