Cruise together on the Lot River
Taking a cruise on the Lot River is a romantic experience that we highly recommend. Admiring the cliffs, oak-covered hills and vineyards of Cahors with a glass of Malbec in hand offers unforgettable moments for a couple looking to disconnect. No previous skills are required to hire a boat. For many people it's an adventure that allows them to break away from their daily routine, performing simple manoeuvres such as docking at the ports of Cahors, Luzech and Larnagol and passing through the river's 17 locks.
Bathing in the river can also be a refreshing experience for couples, which can be topped off with a delicious meal in a Lot restaurant, accompanied, of course, by a local wine. Cruises on the Lot River can be from three nights to two weeks or more, between April and October. Boat rental companies are located in Cahors, Bouziès, Douelle and Luzech.
Cycling tours in Lot Valley
If you hire a boat, don't forget to take a few bikes with you as, once ashore, cycling is the perfect way to get to know some of the surrounding towns. One of these is Cahors, nestled in a meander of the Lot at the heart of the valley: overlooking the river, the 14th-century Valentré Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela.
You're also sure to fall under the spell of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a completely preserved medieval village built against a rock face 100 metres above the river, which forms a surprisingly harmonious whole. We recommend a walk along the towpath of the Ganil, 6 kilometres downstream from Saint-Cirq, whose wall is decorated with a contemporary fresco by Toulouse sculptor Daniel Monnier.
Romantic walks on the Canal du Midi
When Pierre-Paul-Riquet designed the Canal du Midi in the 17th century to link the Garonne River to the Mediterranean, he had no idea that this waterway would become a major tourist attraction centuries later. Many visitors come from far and wide to sail on this prestigious construction, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. A couples' boat trip on the Canal du Midi is a unique and romantic experience, where you will discover ancient towpaths, flower-decked locks and secluded marinas from a fully equipped boat. As on the Lot River, you don't need a licence to hire a boat and cruise the Canal du Midi, all you need is the desire to kick back.
When to cruise on the Canal du Midi?
The Canal du Midi is navigable from the end of March to the beginning of November and cruises can last from a weekend to two weeks or more. There are several companies specialising in boat hire (Le Boat , Nicols , Navicanal and Locaboat Holidays , among others) which are located in various places such as Port-Lauragais, Negra, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, Argens, Lattes and the port of Le Somail. Reputable travel agents could help you book your cruise.
While on a boat trip on the Canal du Midi, you'll be amazed by the varied and colourful landscapes! That's why we recommend making day trips to explore places like Toulouse, Villefranche-de-Lauragais, Castelnaudary (birthplace of cassoulet) and some of the red-brick or golden stone villages of the Midi Toulousain and Narbonnaise. Don't miss the Naurouze threshold, which marks the highest point of the canal, and the Fonséranes locks in Béziers.
Exploring Occitanie's rivers
If you like adventure, the Occitanie region offers adrenaline-filled experiences. For canoeing and rafting enthusiasts, the gorges of the Tarn and its tributaries, the Jonte and the Durbie, are exceptional places to descend. As well as enjoying the white water, you can admire a spectacular landscape of cliffs, breaches and overhangs. The canyons and rivers of Aude, Dordogne and Lot are also perfect for adventure sports, as are those of Aveyron, which combine thrills with charming villages such as Najac or Bruniquel.
White water activities are, of course, a tradition in the Pyrenean departments of Occitanie. The Gave de Pau, which rises in the Gavarnie cirque (an amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion) and the Neste River, whose tumultuous waters cross the Aure and Louron valleys, are two of the favourite sites for rafting, canoeing and hydrospeed enthusiasts. Near the Mediterranean, the Gardon and Hérault gorges are also ideal for adventure sports.