Vineyard to Nature Reserve.
The 30 acre Domaine Le Sabatou was previously a lavender plantation with small vineyards on the slopes of the horse shoe shaped geography surrounding the property (sabata/zapato from which the present name derives). Since 1989 Le Sabatou has flourished as a protected nature reserve free from pesticides and other agricultural chemicals and the land has been returned to nature. After 25years Le Sabatou has seen the return of an extraordinary abundance of wild flowers, particularly orchids and healing Bach plants. This, in turn, has stimulated the return of the bees and a huge diversity of insects which has triggered the revival of a fabulous eco system. We have witnessed the return of many species of birds, including eagles and owls, small animals such as the pine martin, hare and fox. Today the tranquil deer are visible in the open wild flower meadow around the house.
Walking and Cycling Holidays
Leading off directly from the house small footpaths join onto the network of public footpaths. A printed guide to these walks is provided upon your arrival at the property. There is enough choice and variation for all levels of walkers and all levels of enthusiasm to keep you occupied for a two week holiday, if this is what you are looking for. Immediately above the property on the plateau (locally called the “Causse”) is the stone remains of an old windmill. From here it is possible to see, across the next valley, the fully restored and working windmill at Bois (open to the public) and then further onto the 3 windmills of Castelnau-Montratier. These windmills are land mark features in the Quercy Blanc.
On the opposite side of Cezac, the village to which Le Sabatou belongs, runs the famous GR65 walking pilgrimage route of St. Jaques de Compostella leading towards either Cahors or to Montcuq and Lauzerte.
Enthusiasts of off road cycling will find these paths create the perfect combination of up and down gradients and enjoyable challenges on low hill heights.
For on road cycling this area offers quite, traffic free roads with picturesque villages to stop at for refreshment.
Medieval Hilltop Villages, local produce markets, cafes & restaurants.
The three surrounding medieval hilltop villages of Castelnau-Montratier, Montcuq and Lauzerte (8 to 17kms from Cezac) are some of Frances “most beautiful villages”. The local produce markets are a must to visit. Full details of dates and times are provided in the property. The Wednesday evening market at Castelnau-Montratier, for example, has live music and outdoor tables for dinning throughout July and August. This is the real France with children and teenagers running around the village square, old men playing “petanque” and wine intoxicated parents dancing.
Restaurants and Cafes are in abundance to choose from everywhere. There is no need to ask for specific recommendations, you will discover these yourself.
Cahors is without question one of the most beautiful historic towns of France, set in the meander of the river Lot with the medieval Valantry bridge. Take a day or two to explore Cahors and its many back streets. Again the market on Wednesday or Saturday is a must. For traditional South West cooking try the reasonably priced Auberge de Vieux Cahors.
Lot River Valley (East of Cahors) – Canoeing, Grotte de Peche Merle, St Cirque Lapopie.
A day trip to do along the overhanging sculpted cliffs of the Lot river valley. Visit the world famous prehistoric cave paintings in the refreshingly cool Grotte de Peche Merle at Cabrerets before going to explore the village of St Cirque Lapopie. Do not miss the restaurant “La Truite Doree” on the way at Vers for lunch.
A subsidiary of the Lot, the Cele valley and river are a nature paradise. Canoe hire is available for all the family including children and older first timers. This is a day out on its own and will be a day for future family memories.
Lot Valley Wine Tasting
Along the valley east of Cahors is a concentration of wine chateaux and domains, traditionally the home of malbec grapes. This black wine area is another “must do” for a holiday at Le Sabatou. Mercues, Douelle, Luzech, Puy L’Eveque, Albas up to Fumel is full of Chateaux to discover, including Chateau Lagrezette, Chateau Chambert and the Chateau de Caix – the home of the French Prince of Denmark.
St.Antonin Nobel de Val & Canoeing
Another day trip to make, in a different direction taking the D820 through the hat making town of Caussade, is to St Antonin set in the spectacular gorges of the Averyon river. This small medieval town is a delight to explore. The 9km stretch of river through the gorge is great family fun for canoe hire, swimming and jumping into the river.