Cahors is a lovely medium sized town about an hour and half north of Toulouse. The area has lots of possibilities for being active outdoors, including mountain biking, kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing and many other totally awesome things! However, in this post I will focus on some of the readily available, FREE things that you can do on your own, with no particular preparations or experience needed. So, stuff that is good not only for your daily dose of family fitness, but also for you wallet. Here’s my list of five budget friendly things that an active family can do in and around Cahors:
1. Hike To The Croix Magne Viewpoint
Surrounding the town of Cahors to the south, there are two main hills with hiking trails, and one of them is what is known as Croix Magne. It is called this way, because of the giant iron cross that sits on top of the hill, overlooking the town. You access the trail from Chemin de la Chartreuse, just opposite the famous Pont Valentré. Here you’ll find an unpretentious little staircase, leading up the hill.
It’s not a difficult hike, but it does get steep quite quickly. There’s a nice forest feel to it and a beautiful view over the city. Once at the cross, you can turn around and go back the same way, or follow some rural roads down the other side of the hill. Just be aware there can be a fair amount of traffic on these roads, as you are not on a hiking trail anymore, and honestly French drivers go…FAST.
2. Play Basketball At The Top Of Mont Saint Cyr!
Still on the south side of Cahors, the Mont Saint Cyr offers another great option for an active family outing. To access the trail from the town centre, cross the river at the Louis Philippe bridge and go down the stairs behind the statue at the roundabout. A staircase between the numbers 24 and 26 of the street now leads up the hill.
Like Croix Magne, the ascent is pretty steep right away, but it’s not a difficult walk. About half way up you’re already rewarded with a really nice view of Cahors. You continue on through some fields and arrive at large open green space with a basketball court. There’s an observation deck behind the court, allowing you to see really far on a clear day. We have spent several afternoons at Mont Saint Cyr during our time in Cahors and love this place. So close to town and yet so peacefully disconnected.
3. Spend An Afternoon At The Playground In Mercuès
Just a little over 8KM from Cahors there’s a the tiny village called Mercuès, and here, in the middle of canola fields and vineyards you will find a HUGE sports and play area! It’s located a bit outside the village and you have to know it’s there, as it’s not somewhere you would otherwise come by.
The place really is huge, it’s not an overstatement. There are several play areas with slides, swings, and climbing nets. A court for playing basketball or football, a designated space for running laps as well as different work out stations and of course picnic tables. Everything you need for an active afternoon out!
To get there from Cahors, take the bus 913 (timetables here) or if you’re up for it – you can also go by bike of course!
4. Go For A Run Along the Lot
Running (or walking) along the banks of a river is always a beautiful way to exercise and Cahors offers many kilometers of river bank for this! On Sundays, Chemin de la Chartreuse is closed off for motorized transportation, making it a favorite running route for many. However, there are lots of other paths well suited for a family jog any time of the week.
For a short and easy (>3K) all-age-friendly route, you can start at Place des Acacias. Go down the stairs and follow the river (north) almost all the way to Pont de Cabessut. Cross the bridge and turn right, into Quai Jean Lagrive. At the bottom of this road, take the path to your right, called Promenade Jacques Treffel. This path takes you to Pont Louis Philippe. Cross the bridge and you’re back at your starting point.
5. Take A Swim in the Green Lake
For an entire day out filled with fun family fitness activities, head to the ‘Lac Vert’ in Catus, about 15KM northwest of Cahors. The only downside to this otherwise fantastic place, is that it’s not accessible by public transportation, meaning that getting there might actually cost a fair bit. Once there though, you have an array of free activities available: swimming, beach volley area, basketball and tennis courts, playground, lots of green space for playing football or badminton (bring your equipment) and you can go for a run or a walk around the lake as well. Don’t miss this post about our day at the lake for more details.