A Way of Life

Water is a way of life in Le Lot. The Lotois are blessed with three great rivers that underpin the very fabric of the culture: the Lot, the Dordogne, and the Célé. The Lotois look to the rivers during the heat of the summer months for day-long picnics, sunbathing and the fresh water. Strong ecological norms nationally and locally allow for a safe bathing environment. Tree swings abound. Several natural lakes also serve as waterparks. Canoes and kayaks dot the rivers during the summer months, gliding down the valleys.

Le Lot also retains a link to its old tradition of inland waterway commerce. Beginning in the 18th Century,  the Lotois began building “gabares”, long flat-bottomed boats made of aspen, alder or birch. Although those days are long past, guided tours on gabares replicas offer a glimpse into the former way of life and beautiful river views. Houseboat rentals also offer a unique way to experience the serenity of river life.


The Lotois look to the Dordogne River and the Lot River to get out of the heat during the summer months, as well as several waterparks for children. Strong ecological norms nationally and locally allow for a safe bathing environment. Tree swings abound. Several locations offer firepits, picknick tables and activities for those seeking to spend a full day soaking in the sun and water. 



The sleepy village of Autoire is often overlooked as a wonderful option for a day trip in the summer months. Nestled in a majestic green valley (cirque d'Autoire) overlooked by ancient ramparts dated to Le Lot's period of English rule, the village's unique 16th and 17th Century architecture of stone houses adorned with turrets and dovecotes (pigeonnières) in brown tile offer tourists the beauty of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie without the tourist crush. The stain glass windows of the modest Church of Saint Pierre is a must see. Autoire is also home to an often deserted waterfall that rises approximately 30 meters from the pool below. Hidden from tourist by a difficult path that climbs steadily through a wild forest landscape, secluded ponds along the way often private locations for picnics on the flat rocks and a cool swim.  Rock climbing courses are available along the cliffs above the waterfall for sporting enthusiasts (bring your own equipment).

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