What to do in the area?
The capital of the Lot region is an absolute must place to visit, with plenty to see and do: the Saint-Étienne cathedral, the medieval fortified bridge the Pont Valentré, the big Saturday market and many other attractions. Discover Cahors with a guide on a segway, by bike, boat or just walking.
Sarlat (officially Sarlat-la-Canéda) is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the Dordogne. It is a charming place with a beautifully restored town centre where you can wander among more than 250 fine Renaissance houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. Sarlat has more monuments per square metre than any other town in France and looks like a film set – only this film set is real! It is therefore not surprising that after Paris and Nice, most movies have been shot here.
You can’t skip a visit to the pilgrimage site of Rocamadour. The world-famous town that is built on a rock in the Causse de Gramat is actually built on 3 levels: the village at the foot of the hill, the chapels a bit higher and the castle on top of the hill from where you have a great view. If you visit Rocamadour in September, you can see the hot air balloons take off from the valley, a fantastic spectacle!
Gourdon is the capital of the Bouriane region. It is a medieval town built on top of a hill (with again beautiful views), with an old city gate, narrow streets, authentic half-timbered houses, a 14th century church and around the old city centre, a boulevard with plenty of opportunity for shopping, eating and drinking. In the summer months, there are many markets, festivals and other events. And yet this tourist town is not overrun by mass tourism: here, you can always find a place on the terrace. On the outskirts of Gourdon you will find the caves of Cougnac and – not to forget – a beautiful fishing lake and a large recreational lake. In short, there’s enough to see and do for everyone. And all of this at less than half an hour drive from Le Martinet. And don’t forget to look around while driving there: the route itself is a feast for the eyes.
A world famous medieval village with a castle, built against a slope, with shops, restaurants and beautiful views over the Lot valley. It competes with Puy-l’Évêque for the title of most beautiful village in the Lot valley. It is great fun to stroll through the cosy streets and visit the boutiques.
Chemin de Halage
Chemin de Halage officially means towpath, which was used in the past to tow barges upstream along the Lot. The towpath was completely carved (by man) into the rock and now serves as a beautiful walking and cycling route from Bouziès to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (5 km). With towering cliffs above you and the babbling waters of the Lot by your side, you will come across works of art carved into the rock walls, little locks and wonderful nature. The walk is easy to do: only the last 10 minutes there is a steep path up to the centre of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Another fun option: go there by boat and return on foot.
Gouffre de Padirac
The Gouffre de Padirac is one of the most famous and spectacular caves in France. The entrance consists of a huge hole with a diameter of more than 40 metres and a river running through the caves, so you can take a gondola ride to visit. An extraordinary experience!
Grottes de Lacave
The Grottes de Lacave are known as one of the more beautiful caves in the Lot region. When you visit the cave, you will first enter the cave by a small electric train. After that, you will have to climb some stairs, so wear good shoes. It easily takes one and a half hours for this visit as there is a lot to see.
And then there are the many castles…
We have listed a few for you. They are all worth a visit. Go back in time and do a castle tour.
La Forêt des Singes
This nature and wildlife area is home to several monkey colonies, a total of 150 barbary apes. In this park, the monkeys are in charge and roam freely. They come surprisingly close and you can feed them. La Forêt des Singes is a unique experience for young and old.
Roundtrip in a Gabare
How special: discovering the Lot valley with all its flora and fauna and with a breath-taking view of Puy-l’Évêque in a real Gabare (traditional French freight boat). Various walks are on offer at locks. Today’s Gabare is 100% electric: enjoy it in silence. You can board in Puy-l’Évêque.
Let yourself be seduced by the various Cahors wines, cheese tastings or the speciality of the area, foie gras. The guided tours of the chateaus, the goat and goose farms are surprising, instructive, but above all delicious. Taste all that you want; after all, you are in France.
Parachute tandem jump
For the daredevils among us: jump at 4,000 meter with an instructor from a plane. A spectacular experience to remember! This is possible from Cahors and Bouloc-en-Quercy.
Canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on the Lot and the Dordogne river
It is wonderful to spend a day on the water. A landscape seen from the water is completely different than from the land. In the past, everything was transported by water, that means that the most beautiful buildings are often situated along the waterfront. After every turn, a completely different landscape appears with castles, fortresses, high rocks and vast vineyards. In most villages, there is the possibility to go ashore and have a drink on a terrace or to stroll through the shopping streets. Sunburn on the water goes unnoticed very quickly, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
The most beautiful villages of France: the pride of the inhabitants
Who hasn’t seen this: the name plates that shows up when entering a village: “L’un des plus beaux villages“. But what does that actually mean?
One thing is certain: they are all villages with an ancient history, fortified villages, villages perched in the mountains and in the countryside, villages with enormous gardens and small fishing villages. You will certainly find the typical French culture there, as well as culinary restaurants and sellers of local products. For all villages, the atmosphere of the village must be preserved. A village may not have more than 2,000 inhabitants and there must be at least two protected sites or monuments. And you can count on it that the inhabitants are proud of this!
A small selection of the “plus beaux villages” near Le Martinet: Lauzerte, Domme, La Roque-Gageac, Beynac-et-Cazenac, Belvès, Monpazier, Villeréal, Limeuil, Pujols.
For a complete list click here
Markets, markets and more markets
It is always nice to spend a morning at a market and enjoy all the beautiful regional products that are on display. Fortunately, there is always a market to be found in our area.
The favourite pastime of the French, however, is visiting the summer food markets of the French countryside. It doesn’t get much more ‘slow living‘ than that. There are various names for it: marché paysan, marché nocturne, marché gourmand or marché des producteurs de pays. It all boils down to the same thing: freshly prepared food from products such as farmer’s chicken, duck, lamb or goose, locally grown salad, real tasty tomatoes and other vegetables, fruits, (goat) cheeses, ice cream and wine or delicious aperitifs can be bought at the stall as at an ordinary market. You really feel like a real Frenchman or woman when you sit down at the long tables (with the cutlery you brought yourself) on the always so charming village square, in an old barn or sometimes even in the courtyard of a medieval castle.
In the summer season there is a night market somewhere almost every day, not always with dinner tables, but certainly worthwhile to spend an evening looking around, tasting and buying something. Keep an eye on the signs along the road.
Good food with a glass of wine
If you like good, pure food prepared with regional produce, France is the place to be. Whether you want to go to a sophisticated or simple restaurant, there is a lot to choose from here in the Lot.