Massif Central - Riding in the wild

Explore the south of France on horseback as you ride trails, stay in charming B&Bs and enjoy local French cuisine. Explore Lozère by cantering across granite plateaus, taking ancient Roman paths and descending into the Allier gorges. Leave behind the valleys and basalt columns to discover, from the saddle, the Mageride Massive and Gévaudan as your horse crosses the rock-strewn slopes and plateaus covered in fragrant yellow broom. Enjoy fantastic views across seven counties of France and visit some of the region's beautiful chateaus.
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Trail Riding
8 days/ 6 days riding -
From £0



- Discover a region rich in surprising tales and history - Roman roads, well-preserved chateaus and legends of mountain beasts
- Enjoy a high-quality ride with an engaging and experienced guide and plenty of opportunities to canter
- Ride through serene and bucolic countryside, through majestic gorges and between granite plateaus and basalt columns
- Get a taste of the wild wide open spaces of the Margeride and Gévaudan in Haute Lozère
- Every day enjoy hearty picnics and dinners made from local ingredients

    On your arrival, you will be met either at Puy en Velay airfield (flights from Paris Orly on certain days) or at Puy en Velay train station; you will then be driven to the stables. If you hire a car, you are welcome to arrive at the farm any time after 16:00.
    Once on the farm, you will meet the rest of the team and the horses. You will have dinner at the farm house B&B with your guide.
  • Day 2 2 : SAINT PAULIEN - LE THIOLENT - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    In the morning, you will set off on horseback to explore the south of France and ride through the deep valleys of the Haute-Loire. The wooded valley paths will lead you to the pink-hued Thiolent chateau set in an untouched and undulating landscape dotted with woods and copses. After stopping in the woods around the chateau for your picnic lunch, you will ride along the largest basalt plateau in France; an ideal setting for the first exhilarating canters of your trip.
    You will enjoy a traditional dinner and spend the night in a B&B.
  • Day 3 3 : LE THIOLENT - LES GORGES DE L'ALLIER - SAINT CHRISTOPHE - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    You will set off at a brisk pace along the Bolène track, an ancient Roman road built before César's time, towards the Allier Gorge. The descent into the gorge is truly spectacular and offers up some fantastic views. Once you reach the river, you will stop for your picnic lunch - maybe catching a glimpse of the Atlantic salmon that swim up the river to breed there.
    Back in the saddle, you will ride up towards the village of Saint-Christophe where you will stay in a B&B for the night.
  • Day 4 4 : SAINT CHRISTOPHE - SAINT EULALIE - OUSTA - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    The day's ride will take you further into Haute Lozère where progressively a different type of landscape will reveal itself; high rugged rock-strewn plateaus will open up before you offering spectacular panoramas of the surrounding mountain ranges.
    You will make your way across the magnificent Margeride uplands, the setting of the legends and misdeeds of the beast of Gévaudan. You will stop for your lunch, out in the fresh air, next to the areas herdsmen's' huts. At Ste Eulalie, the Margeride provides the grazing ground for the wild bison reintroduced to the area several years ago. Keep an eye out for them, they will be watching you from behind the juniper bushes!
    You will have a hearty dinner and spend the night in a B&B in Ousta.
  • Day 5 5 : OUSTA - TURC DE LA GARDE - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    Riding at more than 1200 metres, you will follow drovers' roads used in the past for driving livestock across the mountains. Travelling along St. James's Way, you will head north and most likely cross the path of pilgrims making their way to the shrine at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galici, Spain. Then, at Truc de la Garde (1486 m), you will have a breathtaking view across 7 French departments.
    In the evening, you will have dinner and stay at a local B&B.
  • Day 6 6 : TURC DE LA GARDE - ST ARCONS D'ALLIER - CHAVANIAC LAFAYETTE - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    Your morning's ride will take you through serene and picturesque countryside up and over many a shallow peak and trough. You will have the magnificent view of Saint Arcon d'Allier as your guide to your stop for lunch in the heart of the basalt gorges of Haut Allier.
    The red earth of your afternoon's ride will spur the horses on into a gallop and at a brisk pace you will ride into Chavagnac-Lafayette. Here, you will have your evening meal and stay in a hotel. Chavagnac-Lafayette is the birth place of the famous General Motier, and there will be the option to go and visit his chateau.
  • Day 7 7 : CHAVANIAC LAFAYETTE - SAINT PAULIEN - 6 hours riding (approx.)

    Looking behind you, you will be able to see your path over the last six days as you head into your final day's riding. The paths, lined with mushrooms and the scent of wild berries, will lead you into the countryside. After a picnic lunch and a short siesta, you will descend towards the sun-soaked and luminous Velay Mountains. From here, you will have a spectacular viewpoint from the Durande to the Mezenc Mountains and, on a clear day, you will see even further.
    After this heady cocktail of the Mediterranean, mountains, fresh air and tranquility, the spire of Saint-Goerge's church in St Paulien will appear signaling the end of your trip. You will have dinner and spend your final night in France at the farm house from where you set out.

    After breakfast, you will set out on your return journey to the UK. Either you will be driven to the airfield or train station or you will set off in your hire car when you're packed and ready to go.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. You will need to make your own way to the Puy en Velay station or airfield.

- Rates are per person, based on two or three riders sharing a twin or triple room. Single rooms are not available on this trail ride.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 10 riders, plus guides. 

- Transfers are included to/from Puy en Velay.

- There is a maximum rider weight of 90kg/ 14st 2lbs/ 198 lbs
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


This herd of trail-riding horses is mainly made up Appaloosas and Quarter-Horse crosses. They are well trained and docile yet energetic. They have been perfectly trained and are used to riding in the Haute-Loire, they are comfortable riding independently from one another and their paces are elevated.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

For this ride, you need to be at ease in the saddle and confident riding outdoors, for several hours at a time, at all paces and across uneven terrain.

There is a maximum rider weight of 90kg/ 14st 2lbs/ 198 lbs


The base pace of the ride is a walking pace because of the uneven ground. However, you will enjoy (often heady!) trots and gallops whenever the terrain allows.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be responsible for grooming, tacking and un-tacking your horse. You will also feed and water them in the morning and evening.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

The majority of this trip takes place in the lower mountainous regions of the Haute-Loire, riders need to be in good physical condition. Previous experience of trail riding holidays is a plus but is not necessary.

Helmets are MANDATORY.
Children from the age of 12, accompanied by their parents, are welcome to join this trip.

Equestrian equipment

Western riding tack.
Saddlebags provided.

We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info


You will stay in small country hotels or B&Bs in rooms for 2-3 people with private bathrooms.


Your meals will consist of picnic lunches carried in your saddlebags, and in the evening, you will enjoy hearty dinners made from local produce.


In general, the region is altogether dry, but it has very long winters paired with short summers.

A Mediterranean front makes itself felt in the south and southeast of the region with sometimes considerable rainfall. High in the mountain plateaus, it is usually cold and in the summer they are subject to storms. The oceanic influence also leads to brisk changes between snowfall and long mild spells brought in by the warmer maritime front. The Mediterranean influence also brings with it strong winds in the south and southeast as well as sudden rain storms and cold snaps in the mountains. However, when the southerly winds die down, especially in the summer and autumn, the region benefits from long periods of beautiful hot dry weather.

In winter, temperatures vary between 10 and -3°C.
In spring, temperatures vary between 2 and 22°C.
In summer, temperatures vary between 10 and 28°C.
In autumn, temperatures vary between 3 and 22°C.

Guide and local team

Your ride will be led by Daniel, who has been organising and leading horse riding trips for the past 20 years. Having been born in the Haute-Loire, he is extremely knowledgeable about and proud of the area you will be riding through. A trip leader with the TREC qualification and a desire to show you the best that his region of France has to offer. Daniel gets by pretty well in English and has even invested in the latest translate-as-you-speak device to provide the best tour possible!


In France it is customary to tip - usually this is by rounding up the price when you are satisfied with the service. You may wish to leave a tip with the guide who can split it amongst all members of the team - this is not obligatory and is entirely at your discretion.

Packing list

The information provided is general and should be adapted to the season in which you are travelling, specifically concerning the necessity of Goretex waterproofs.

- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain
- Warm hat for cold evenings/days

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Waterproof jacket (made from Goretex or equivalent) and/ or (depending on the season) a waterproof vest that covers you thighs. No ponchos!!

- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers (made from Goretex or equivalent), especially if you don't have a long waterproof coat
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- A swimming costume may be useful for impromptu dips in the lake
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

Visa & Health


UK citizens - other nationalities please contact us:

If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter France. The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- the 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for France, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

For up-to-date information please visit:


UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.