Much of the forty-odd acres are a mixture of chestnut, oak, and pine woodland, with some fields cultivated by the local farmer in which you are welcome to roam. Near the house, (seasonal weather permitting), you’ll find cherries in early June, plums from the end of July, apples and figs in August and September, and chestnuts and walnuts in October. In autumn there are also many different varieties of fungi, including cepes, in the fields and woods. The pharmacist in Cazals is happy to identify these for you and advise on edibility (as are most of the customers in the pharmacy!). In Spring there’s also a wide variety of orchids, some rare.
The nearest village, (apart from Les Arques) is Frayssinet-le-Gelat, about 3km away, which has an outstanding baker. Cazals (5km away) has a good supermarket and butcher, and a traditional food market on Sundays, selling local produce. There is a larger one at Prayssac, some 12k away, each Friday morning.
There are very good restaurants in the area, particularly La Recreation, 3k away in Les Arques. Converted from the old school house, it is excellent, with a warm friendly atmosphere, and a special menu for children. In addition, there is the 2 Michelin starred Le Gindreau, in St. Medard, about 10km away.
But perhaps just as delicious is the traditional cooking of the southwest which can be found close by, in the snug little auberges of Cazals and Chez Jeanne in Pomarede, which rely on seasonal, often home grown, produce. There are many other restaurants close by, details of which can be found in the comprehensive file in the kitchen.
Bel Arbre provides a great base from which to explore all the Lot has to offer - including walking, riding, canoeing and fishing, visiting cave paintings, medieval villages and churches, markets, vineyards, and a little zoo at Padirac. There’s also a nine hole golf course at Cenac (about 35 minutes away, on the Dordogne).
During the summer many local villages have concerts, night markets and fetes