Bordeaux & Aquitaine

Lot et Garonne

This area is inland and very rural, offering laid-back country living free of the high volume of tourists in the Dordogne.

Messing about on the water is a highlight here, particularly on the Canal Latéral à la Garonne, part of the vast Canal du Midi reaching all the way from Bordeaux to the Mediterranean. In Clairac, you’ll also find the Abbaye des Automates, where about 250 mechanical models of monks, abbots and others portray daily life in the Middle Ages. The exhibition is combined with a display of automated gnomes and elves plus some matchstick models of great French buildings.

Grottes de Lastournelle near Villeneuve-sur-Lot (a bastide town famous for its organic market on Wednesdays) are prehistoric caves with seven interconnecting chambers to, including the Pillar Room full of stalagmites and stalactites. More impressive still are the Grottes de Fontirou, which have the benefit of a picnic area, bar, mini-golf and children’s go-karting, so you can make it into a family day out.The splendid Château de Bonaguil near Fumel, host to lots of activities for kids during the summer months, plus a medieval festival in July.