What to Expect
The countryside is pleasantly rich and lush, full of orchards and corn fields. Arrive at the right time of year, as I did, and you’ll find endless stacks of colourful corn cobs and plenty of fruit and nut growing, including sumptuous looking figs. The overall effect is like cycling though one limitless, beautifully tended, garden.
Cycling in the Lot Valley is from D ‘ Aiguillon and around the Cahors region is a relaxing break from the norm. Over 160kms you will have the chance to taste the local wines, eat delicious fruit from the orchards and visit the medieval villages called ” bastides ” with their fortified doors.
You will cycle small quiet roads with enjoyable terrain. Among the memorable sites are the Pujols Tower in Villeneuve-sur-Lot , the Basilica of Our Lady of Peyragude in Penne d’Agenais , Bonaguil Castle in Fumel or the Valentré Bridge in Cahors.
The Lot Valley is also a great discovery of local produce including plum orchards and famous vineyards of the Cahors region .
Day 1 – Bordeaux
Day 2 – Canal des 2 mers Clairac 14 km
This stage leads you along the Canal des 2 Mers Cycle Route to link up with the Lot Valley Cycle Route. From Bordeaux, the way is signposted, via Tonneins. Or an unofficial option goes from Agen via Damazan to Aiguillon. The Lot Valley Cycle Route officially starts at Aiguillon, at the confluence of Lot and Garonne Rivers. Set out from the north side of this village’s bridge over the Lot to relish an area full of architectural and gastronomic delights, including strawberry fields and plum orchards…
Day 3 – Clairac / Villeneuve sur Lot 50.4 km
Once you’ve taken the link along the Canal des 2 Mers Cycle Route (maybe via Tonneins), from Aiguillon, the Lot Valley Cycle Route leads you along a winding way, past old farms, dovecotes and little châteaux. Clairac, a lovely medieval village, tempts the taste buds, surrounded by strawberry fields. At Castelmoron, the extravagant town hall stands out beside the river. The town of Villeneuve-sur-Lot makes a very appealing, practical overnight stop on the Lot Valley Cycle Route.
Day 4 – Villeneuve sur Lot / Fumel 35.4 km
Leaving behind the impressive pink-brick churchtower of St Catherine’s in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, the cycle route meanders along quiet lanes, going past plum orchards stretching across the wide Lot Valley plain. Among recommended detours, climb to the medieval village of Penne d’Agenais to be rewarded with grand views. Further remarkable perched villages to visit include Montsempron-Libos and Fumel.
Day 5 – Fumel / Castelfranc 40.6 km
Once past the town of Fumel and the charming little port of Condat, this stage, leading you into the county of the Lot, alternates between quiet lanes and stretches of greenway. Smart vineyards dominate the countryside, set around elegant old wineries. The remarkable perched village of Puy-L’Évêque makes a stunning sight across the Lot as you follow the riverbank up to Castelfranc, the latter an historic, grid-planned bastide town at the confluence of Lot, Masse and Le Vert Rivers.
Day 6 – Castelfranc / Cahors 36.7 km
On this stage, the Lot Valley becomes wilder and more winding. A string of typical traditional villages stands out: Calstelfranc, Albas, Luzech, Parnac, Douelle, historic stops packed with character. Set in an exceptional meander in the Lot, the medieval town of Cahors grew on a major pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Now designated a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire thanks to its cultural riches, Cahors is an unmissable staging post on the Lot Valley Cycle Route. The way meanders along country lanes, with slopes approaching Cahors.