1. Lot - 2. Dordogne - 3 Tarn - 4 Gascony - 5 Provence - 6 Haute Provence - 7 Pyrenees
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3. TARN REGION

La Maison des Tournesols
Tarn region  -  Tarn cottage  -  Tarn village   
Tarn sightseeing  -  Tarn house-plans Tarn local region 
 
Sightseeing in the Tarn region
Scroll down to see more images of sightseeing in the Tarn region
      
The marvellous town of Albi about 38 kms away - one of our favourite towns in France - 
with many quaint  winding streets of a ancient bricks in all shades of reds and ochres
The huge fortified Albi Cathedral was originally built to inspire awe and fear to heretics or Cathars
during the Albigensian Crusade - the interior is magnificent with murals
and magnificent carved stone rood screen and choir stalls.
    
- right next to the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec which owns 600 works by Henri de-Toulouse-Lautrec.
We have bought prints of many of these magnificent works from the Musée to hang in this cottage.
The wonderful Bishops Gardens change with every season - and there are two levels of covered 
walkways right beside the Cathedral and the Musée Lautrec with views out over Albi and the River Tarn.
    

Albi again - more of the delightfully individual buildings in the old heart of the town.
Albi has many excellent restaurants and also has most elegant shops.

Now set off to the north past the little town of Gaillac - see the section on Local region -
and take a tour of the circuit of high, perched villages. Take a picnic maybe because all of our cottages
have an excellent back pack picnic set and you can enjoy a meal with wonderful views.
   
About 30 minutes drive north is Cordes-sur-Ciel - meaning Cordes-in-the-Sky.
Full of artists, craftsmen, museums and mediaeval and renaissance architecture -

Cordes is the perhaps the best known of a circuit of these villages -

- which are so close to one another that you can easily visit them in day.
Once again the views from up at Cordes here are quite spectacular from every angle -
 
- as they are from another village in this circuit - Puycelci - which many consider the prettiest of all -
set on high as are all the others - with panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Among the others are Bruniquel and Penne -
- and the last one in this circular route heading back towards Gaillac is the famous bastide village
of Castelnau-de-Montmirail on a high perch sounded by vineyards.

A trip further north from Cordes brings you to the dramatically sited village of Najac
with its massive fortress dating back to 1253 - and the village houses straggling precipitously
underneath on the hillside. In the 13C there was a population here of 2000 people.

   

Left - 44 kms south-east from our village is the town of Castres - which has a charming riverside
quarter and the former bishop's palace which houses the major Musée Goya - which has the largest
collection of Spanish paintings outside the Louvre - including several by Goya.

Right -The palace is also very famous for its gardens designed by Andre Le Notre.


Although this is closer to our Pyrenees cottage - many of our guests take the 90 minute trip
to see the walled city of Carcassonne - one of the great sights of France.
Founded in the 3C BC, it later became a Cathar heretic stronghold during 12C AD
which was captured by Simon-de-Montford during the Albigensian Crusade.

Carcassonne a perfect mediaeval fortress layout of two concentric walls with thirteen towers
spread along the outer rampart with twenty-six along the inner one. 
Also south-east and only about 30 kms is the delightful high village of Lautrec -
- famous for it's ail-rose ( pink garlic) and it's windmill.
 
Lautrec has a very reasonably priced restaurant - Le Moulin Gourmand -
so think about setting off in time for lunch before exploring this charming village
and then climbing up to the windmill with 360 degree views of the countryside around.
      
Going to the west you can easily take in the town of Montauban - the Rose city of the Midi -
which has the Ingrès Museum in the former 15C Episcopal Palace with a very fine collection of works
by this famous artist - born here in 1780. It also has an excellent program of temporary exhibitions.
Toulouse - our cottage is only a half hour train trip from Lavaur station to the centre of this great historic city
- certainly worth a full day to explore this vibrant town full of restaurants, magnificent cathedrals, 
museums and lively streets with up-market shops - as shown here just near the Place-du-Capitole.
   
Toulouse contains two of the most magnificent churches  - firstly the Cathedral of St Sernin
the largest and best preserved Romanesque cathedral in southern France 
which dates back to the 11C - in warm red brick with its unique six storied spire.
 - and secondly the Church of Les Jacobins - a masterpiece of 13C southern French gothic architecture 
shown here is the amazingly beautiful vaulted ceiling - recently restored to its former splendour.

 

Tarn region  -  Tarn cottage  -  Tarn village   
Tarn sightseeing  -  Tarn house-plans Tarn local region
 
Sightseeing in the Tarn region
 
The immediate area
Lavaur - the mediaeval town close by with a stormy history from the Crusades. 
Briatexte and Giroussens - famous for ceramics.
Gaillac - founded in Roman times and centre for the Gaillac wines. 
Gaillac wineries - the vineyards of Gaillac are among the oldest in the France.
  Rabastens - formerly the summer residence of the old Toulouse Parliament. 
Lisle-sur-Tarn - a 13C bastide village with very beautiful authentic architecture.
 
Within an hours drive
Albi - a most historic and beautiful town with a vivid history from the Albigensian Crusade.
Albi - Palais-de-la-Berbie (former Arch-bishop's palace), with 600 works by Toulouse Lautrec
Cordes -sur-Ciel - founded in 1222 - a mediaeval refuge for heretics.
A circuit of hill-top bastides classified as Plus Beaux Villages de France -Castelnau-de-Montmiral, 
Puycelci, LaRoque, Bruniquel and Penne.
Lautrec and the Sidobre granite forest. 
Castres - has an important museum of Goya and other Spanish painters.
The Canal du Midi and the bastide town of Revel.
Lake Saint Férréol - created to store the water for the Canal du Midi.
Carcassonne - one of the most visited tourist sites in France.
Toulouse - certainly worth an entire day to explore all the Museums, cathedrals and vibrant streets.
 
1. Lot - 2. Dordogne - 3 Tarn - 4 Gascony - 5 Provence - 6 Haute Provence - 7 Pyrenees
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