7nt Douelle RETURN via St-Cirq-Lapopie

7 nights | 78.90km | 26 locks | Approx. 22 hrs of cruising

This suggested itinerary covers all of the main highlights of this stunning region. You’ll start by exploring the bustling and ancient city of Cahors and end up in the beautiful village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, perched high upon the craggy clifftops overlooking the majestic river. In between, you’ll cruise through rocky ravines, explore prehistoric caves, sample local wines and dine in a splendid château.

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Suggested itinerary


DAY 1: Arrive Douelle

0km | 0 locks | Approx. 0 hrs 0 mins of cruising

Arrive at base

2pm - 5pm

After you have arrived and checked-in, we'll show you to your boat as quickly as possible. Spend time settling in, freshen up and await your pre-departure briefing which will be given by one of our base technicians. They will familiarise you with the boat’s domestic systems and give you a hands-on demonstration of the boat controls and how to operate it. They will make sure you are comfortable and confident controlling the boat, as well as navigating the waterway, before you set off.

Explore Douelle

5pm - 6:30pm

If you've some time to explore once you've settled in, take a stroll around the town and enjoy a late afternoon wine tasting at the Domaine Le Passelys' estate, known for their wide range of Cahors, rosé and white wine.

Dinner at Chez Malique, L'Auberge du Vieux Douelle

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Enjoy good food at a reasonable price at this family-run spot. Situated in one of the oldest buildings in Douelle, and just a 5-minute walk from our base, enjoy exquisite tapas on their shady terrace. For bookings: +33 (0)5 65 20 02 03 

L'Auberge du Vieux offers a complimentary aperitif to Le Boat customers.

Overnight Douelle

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Douelle > Cahors

9am - 12:30pm

Approx. 3hrs 30mins | 3 locks

As you set off from Douelle, upstream of the attractive suspension bridge, you can’t miss the Europe’s largest mural painting, painted by Chamizo and representing the history of Cahors wine.

Lunch at Les Petits Producteurs, Cahors

1pm - 2pm

The perfect place for a lunchtime pitstop, just behind the cathedral. However, you may struggle to get a table as this place is very popular... and for good reason. The giant, tasty salads and the locally produced wines; delicious fois gras, truffles and top quality local produce are all second to none. They close at 7pm, so don’t save this place until dinner. You can try to book on 05 65 31 26 24, but they don’t always take reservations. lespetitsproducteurs.fr

If you can't get a table to dine at, you can always buy local produce in their shop. Les Petits Producteurs has an special offer for Le Boat customers - a duck terrine or pâté du causse with chanterelle mushrooms 180 gr is offered free with any purchase.

Explore Cahors

2pm - 6:30pm

Cahors is sure to be one of the highlights of your cruise. A city of art and history, Cahors is also famous for its vineyards and gastronomy, particularly truffles and foie gras. Have fun following the ‘Jardins Secrets’ route; there are around thirty gardens to explore, or take the small train which departs from the Valentré Bridge. You can also visit the bridge by yourself or book a guided tour: www.cahorsvalleedulot.com/ Of course, the best view is from the river as you arrive into town.

Dinner at La Balinaise, Cahors

7:30pm - 9:30pm

This highly-rated restaurant serves exquisite and beautifully presented Indonesian food. With only 20 tables and a lovely cosy atmosphere, this hidden gem is tucked away in a quiet side street near the cathedral - you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to make a reservation: +33 (0)9 52 35 07 39 | labalinaise.fr

Overnight in Cahors

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Cahors > Vers

9am - 12:30pm

Approx. 3hrs 30mins | 5 locks

Lunch on board, Vers

12:30pm - 2pm

Enjoy a picnic lunch on your sundeck while admiring the stunning scenery that surrounds you.

Explore Vers

2pm - 6:30pm

Admire the grey-white limestone cliffs that are tinted with ochre and which give extraordinary colours at sunrise and sunset. The art gallery near the port displays oil and pastel paintings depicting scenes of the Lot Valley. 2.5km from Vers (35-minute by foot or a 20 minute bike ride), you’ll find the Delfour biscuit factory and museum. This family owned factory has been in business for 5 generations and has produced 35 traditional recipes based on the produce of the region. Learn about their remarkable histroy and sample their unique crunchy almond biscuits, walnut cakes (PDO Périgord) and chestnut bites.

The Delfour biscuit factory offers a free gift to Le Boat customers. 

Dinner at La Truite Dorée, Vers

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Rated as a consistently good dining option with a varied menu at reasonable prices. Enjoy your meal al fresco on the beautiful terrace or inside the homely space of this popular local restaurant/hotel. For bookings: +33 (0)5 65 31 41 51 | latruitedoree.fr

Overnight in Vers

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Vers > Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

9am - 12:30pm

Approx. 3hrs 30mins | 5 locks

Lunch at Le Cantou, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

12:30pm - 2pm

This local gem is highly-rated for its reasonably priced food among a few other overpriced tourist-traps in the village. The restaurant's terrace has a beautiful view of the village's medieval streets. Bookings are advised: +33 (0)5 65 35 59 03 

Explore Saint-Cirq-Lapopie

2pm - 5:30pm

One of the main stops on your holiday, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is deservingly classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. With 13 listed buildings to choose from, the medieval village has conserved its heritage and retained an irresistible charm. Below the ruins of the fortress, there are many beautiful old houses built from stone or wood between the 13th and 16th centuries.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie > Bouziès

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Approx. 1hr | 2 locks

Explore Bouziès

7pm - 8pm

A short distance from Bouziès, also carved into the rock, is a 30 metre ‘fresco’ of impressive sculptures by the artist Daniel Monnier – well worth a walk to, from the town.

Dinner at Les Falaises, Bouziès

8pm - 10pm

Enjoy a fuss-free, local meal in a homely environment. Be sure to try the crème brûlée - reportedly one of the best in the area! For bookings: +33 (0)5 65 31 26 83

Overnight in Bouziès

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Cycle to Cabrerets

9am - 9:30am

Enjoy a 20 minute cycle to the north of the river to visit Cabrerets (5.3km away) and the caves of Peche Merle. If you haven't added bike hire to your booking, you could call for a taxi - or you'll there in one hour by foot.

Explore Cabrerets

9:30am - 12noon

The village of Cabrerets is dominated by a medieval fortress, although its centrepiece is the imposing Château de Cabrerets. Unfortunately, it is closed to the public for most of the year, but worth a visit to see the exterior. Near the village, be sure to visit the impressive Pech Merle caves, discovered by two young boys in 1922 and the site of ancient drawings of prehistoric woolly mammoths, horses and reindeer, many of which date back to 25,000 BC. The stalagmites and other cave formations are also quite beautiful. Booking recommended: +33 (0)5 65 31 27 05 | pechmerle.com. To reach the caves, take the pedestrian path which starts behind the village church. 

Lunch at La Roue, Cabrerets

12noon - 1:30pm

Enjoy a beautifully presented lunch on the terrace of La Roue: +33 (0)5 65 22 91 79

Cycle back to your boat in Bouziès

1:30pm - 2pm


Bouziès > Laroque-des-Arcs

2pm - 6:30pm

Approx. 4hrs 30mins | 6 locks

Visit the supermarket next to the church in Bouziès before you set off to stock up for your evening meal.

Dinner on board, Laroque-des-Arcs

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Enjoy this beautiful setting by preparing a meal on board and dine on your top-deck while soaking in your surroundings. If your boat has a barbecue (or if have added one to your booking),  fire it up and cook al fresco. Bon appetite! 

Overnight in Laroque-des-Arcs

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Explore Laroque-des-Arcs

9am - 10:30am

A walk around this small and peaceful village is a delight. The Saint-Roch chapel stands lonely on a clifftop overlooking the village. The views from here are spectacular and worth the uphill climb.

Laroque-des-Arcs > Pradines

10:30am - 1pm

Approx. 2hrs 30mins | 4 locks

Lunch at Chez Marie, Pradines

1pm - 2pm

At Chez Marie, everyone will find something delicious. The menu varies from classic Italian specials to traditional French cuisine. +33 (0)5 81 70 47 10

Explore Pradines

2pm - 4:30pm

This charming village, surrounded by verdant forest, is full of history and has some pretty churches to visit.

Pradines > Mercuès

4pm - 4:30pm

Approx. 30mins | 0 locks

Explore Mercuès

4:30pm - 6:30pm

Moor on the right bank upstream of the lock. From the pontoon, you can reach the village centre by a path, that is 2km long and signposted. Mercuès Castle, which dominates the town and dates from the 7th century, was for centuries the summer residence of Cahors counts and bishops. Today, it is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant. You can also visit the cellar and taste six vintage wines from the castle.

Dinner at Le Château de Mercuès, Mercuès

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Dinner at Le Duèze Restaurant in Le Château de Mercuès is a real royal experience: Enjoy Michelin-starred food in authentic a historical setting. +33 (0)5 65 20 00 01 | chateaudemercues.com

If the Château's restaurant is not serving while you are there, or if you prefer something less fancy, the artisan pizzas and fine desserts at Pizz & Patiss also come highly recommended and won't disappoint: +33 (0)5 65 22 21 41 | pizzetpatiss.com 

Overnight in Mercuès

Breakfast on board

8am - 9am

Mercuès > Caillac

9:30am - 12pm

Approx. 2hrs 30mins | 1 lock

Lunch at Le Vinois, Caillac

12noon - 1:30pm

Enjoy a wide range of delicious flavours in Le Vinois. The restaurant offers both Asian & European cuisine. +33 (0)5 65 30 53 60 | www.levinois.com

Explore Caillac

1:30pm - 3:30pm

The Lagrézette vineyards surround the beautifully-restored 15th century château. Visitors are welcome at the cellars, where you can sample different vintages in the presence of an expert. Book a 1 hour 'Discovery Workshop' by calling: +33 (0) 5 65 20 07 42 | chateau-lagrezette.com

Caillac > Douelle

3:30pm - 4pm

Approx. 30mins | 0 locks

Explore Douelle

4:30pm - 6:30pm

Douelle has played an important role in the history of the Lot River since the Middle Ages, and was once the largest port for shipping traffic. For many years, wine barrels were manufactured here to be shipped to Bordeau; the current Port dates back to the 19th century. Douelle itself was famous for its skilled boatmen. If you visit the church, you will get to see the reproduction of a famous boat: a 19th century frigate with cannons hanging from the vault. It is a reminder of the sinking of the "Sémillante", a vessel which carried 705 soldiers as reinforcements during the Crimean War, accompanied by Abbé Carrières, a native of Douelle.

Dinner at Les Mariniers, Douelle

7:30pm - 9:30pm

Enjoy fresh, home-cooked food, including a daily selection of fish, in the cosy garden of this restuarant in the heart of Douelle. They also have a small shop stocked with specialties from the south-west and a selection of Cahors wines. To book: 05 65 20 02 06 or 06 80 06 11 26

Overnight Douelle

Breakfast on board

7:30am - 8:30am

Enjoy your final breakfast on board before tidying and vacating your boat by 9am (unless you have booked and paid for a late-checkout)

Depart Douelle