On Your Door
This charming medieval village is a 5-minute walk & can meet many of your immediate needs. From the friendly “L’Auberge de La Castille” (www.lacastille.fr) restaurant offering good meals at very reasonable prices – to many basic day-to-day requirements – a post office, newsagents, pharmacy & 2 bread shops.
Parisot Lake (Lac de Parisot) is 5 minutes by car and is a great place for boating, fishing or games. It is in a beautiful setting and has boat rental and a snack bar. There are sheltered areas for smaller children to play as well as tennis & basketball courts.
A mere 10 minutes by car, the ancient town of Caylus has plenty to offer. A wonderful old town, it perches on a hillock in the valley, surrounded by steep wooded slopes of the limestone plateau.
Huddled stone houses form narrow, medieval, cobbled alleyways and at their centre lies the old market place that still buzzes twice a week with the trading of local produce. It offers a wide choice of restaurants, bars & shops (including a supermarket).
Office de Tourisme, Rue Droite 82160 Caylus
Phone: +33.05.63.67.00.28 Email: email@example.com
Saint Antonin Noble Val
A medieval town located at a 20 minutes drive of Parisot. The town which sprang up around a Benedictine abbey in the VIII century, conserves its medieval aspect: la Maison Romane, l’Ancien Couvent des Génovéfains, la Maison du Roy, la Maison de l’Amour, les Tanneries, the walnut mill…
Saint-Antonin Noble Val remains a well-known hub for its sports and family-friendly activities: Climbing (600 tracks listed and equipped), hiking (twenty sign-posted footpaths departing from the town), mountain-biking, canoeing in the Aveyron Gorges, horse-riding, cliff-top activities, hang-gliding, paragliding, caving, etc… All of these activities can be practiced with or without supervision from local professionals.
Villefranche de Rouerge
A 20-minute drive east – Villefranche is a beautifully-preserved bastide town founded in 1252. The oldest part of the town is a small network of streets set on the banks of the river Aveyron and dominated by the 14th century church of Notre Dame – with the great tower accessible for panoramic views. In front of the church is a beautiful arcaded market place which is home to a thriving market every Thursday morning.
Office de Tourisme, Prom. du Guiraudet, 12200 Villefranche-de-Rouergue
Phone: +33.05.65.45.13.18 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Situated at the start of the undomesticated Aveyron gorges, Najac is on a steep promontory that dominates the superb valley of the Aveyron river.
Come visit this singular village, classed as one of the “most beautiful villages in France”. Starting at the Place du Faubourg, follow the ridge until you reach the impressive fortress, situated 200 metres above the Aveyron river; the top of the keep offers a breathtaking vue. A fine example of military architecture from the middle-ages, the fortress is still the “key to the whole area”, exactly as its founding builder, Alphonse de Poitiers, wished.
The fortress is a private monument, open from 1 April to 1 November.
At the westernmost tip of the village, do not miss visiting the 13th century Church of Saint John the Evangelist, one of the first gothic churches in the Rouergue province. Its chancel boasts a treasure composed of many liturgical items, including a processionary cross from the 13th century.
Office de Tourisme, 25 place du Faubourg, 12270 Najac
Phone: +33.05.65.29.72.05 Email:email@example.com
Parisot is located in the region Occitanie where the departments Aveyron, Lot and Tarn et Garonne meet. The region offers spectacular landscapes. Its plateaux are surrounded by beautiful rivers – the Lot, Tarn, Aveyron and Aubrac which flow through magnificent deep gorges making it ideal for canoeists, walkers and naturalists alike.
With a large number of sites that carry the title “Most Beautiful French Villages”, these departments are well represented on the national honours list. The Aveyron river is 250 km long, flowing west through the towns of Rodez and Villefranche de Rouergue into the Tarn River north-west of Montauban. Its twisting gorges are a timeless journey of ancient villages amongst rolling hills and vineyards – however, the tranquillity of the region nowadays masks a more turbulent past – dotted with hill-top bastides, built during the Hundred Years War.
The area is steeped in history. The Cathars, the French and even the English have all ruled here, not to mention the Romans. Going even further back are the world-famous ancient cave paintings at Pech Merle.
The climate in this region is wonderful during the summer – plenty of sun with temperatures in the late 20’s & early 30’s – ideal for a break in the country, be it for the active outdoor life, the wealth of sightseeing, or lying by the pool.
Out & About
Beautiful Villages: Several of the most picturesque villages in France are less than an hour’s drive. Najac, Conques, Belcastel, St Cirq Lapopie & Cordes sur Ciel are all exceptional.
Historic Towns: Villefranche de Rouergue, Cahors, Montauban, Figeac & Albi are all local towns with wonderful history, museums, buildings and open markets – with excellent sightseeing, shopping and restaurants (more detail at the end of this section).
There are plenty of markets throughout the region on various days during the week, such as Villefranche de Rouergue (Thursday), Saint Antonin Noble Val (Sunday), Limogne en Quercy (Sunday), Najac (Sunday), Parisot (Friday), Cordes sur Ciel (Saturday), Caussade (Monday), Cahors (Saturday).
The summer brings a host of music and local fetes. Everything from a world class jazz festival in Montauban to a great summer classical concert season in Cordes.
There are numerous local fetes during the summer as well as the many “Vide Greniers” (car boot sales) and “Brocantes” (flea markets) that are held throughout the area.
There is a wealth of historical sites, natural parks and outdoor activities to suit everyone. There are tourist information offices in most of the towns and villages with plenty of helpful information.
The region has a network of footpaths of breathtaking routes taking in the unpolluted air and peace of the area. There is a wealth of stunning scenery, wild life & history just waiting to be dicovered. Most towns have excellent tourist information offices where maps and details of local footpaths can be found.
There is an endless choice of cycle trails with graddes suited to all levels. Bike hire is available in St Antonin Noble Val at: NATURE ESCAPADE tel : +33.05.63.31.41.76
Further trail details ask the local tourist office.
How about golf on the splendid Championship course at Albi Bordered by the Tarn river & Sainte-Cécile cathedral looking down on it, the “Albi Lasbordes” golf course provides a great day out. Further details: www.golfalbi.com or the “Golf Du Grand Rodez” and in Villefranche de Rouergue “Golf du Totche” – wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside around Rodez, this course will enable beginners and experienced golfers alike to enjoy the excellent fairways and greens.
Canoeing / Rafting
The region with its wealth of rivers and lakes offers great opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting. Most towns and villages on the rivers offer some water sports and the tourist information offices are pleased to help.
Saint Antonin Noble Val at: NATURE ESCAPADE tel : +33.05.63.31.41.76
There is wonderful fishing throughout the area, with details available locally. If you fancy a lake, there is a very large one at the Lac du Bannac halfway between Limogne and Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
Hang Gliding, Paragliding, horse riding and rock climbing can also be enjoyed.
Major Towns & Villages
The bustling international city of Toulouse sits astride the river Garonne. This university city is well worth a visit. With its beautiful historic centre, aerospace museum, art galleries, noted architecture, opera house and historic churches – it is one of the most vibrant and metropolitan provincial cities in France. The great square of “Place du Capitol” is a fantastic setting to enjoy one of its many cafes & restaurants & just watch life go by.
Rodez is built high above the river Aveyron and is dominated by the massive red sandstone “Cathedrale Notre Dame” begun in 1277 – one of the first Gothic buildings in Southern France.The two main town squares “Place de la Cite” and “Place du Bourg” are linked by a network of well-restored medieval streets.
Red bricks are everywhere in Albi and they set the tone. The atmosphere changes along with the changing daylight. Delicate pinkish hue in the morning, warm orange under a scorching summer sun or madder red in the evening. A changing palette, as lively as the history of the city. The strength of the imposing episcopal city contrasts with its leisurely pace.
Here, red bricks have shaped up history. Albi and its Episcopal city, listed as Unesco World Heritage in July 2010. Albi has the“Sud-Ouest” leisurely pace. You will enjoy the easy-going atmosphere along its old cobbled lanes, at one of its sunny café terraces or while tasting its gastronomy. You will discover both the city and its people. Festivals, events, museums : do stroll around or take a break by the river Tarn in the afternoon or be taken in by the lavish paintings of Toulouse Lautrec.
Montauban is a historical bastide town situated about 50 kilometres north of Toulouse. The town, founded in 1144 by the Count of Toulouse on the banks of the Tarn River, is largely constructed using the attractive pink stone found in the region, like its great southern cousin Toulouse.
The highlight of the town is at the centre of the original bastide in the Place Nationale. Surrounded by grand pink houses in the red-brick that is unique to this part of France, and set above fine arcades, the very attractive central square in Montauban was largely rebuilt in the 17th century after a fire, hence is not the original bastide centre.
The arcades (the arches and walkways that surround the square and historically provided shelter for the market traders) are an unusual ‘double’ construction with one set of arcades near the house and shop fronts and another closer to the main square. Intact on all four sides, this central square in Montauban is one of the most impressive to be seen in all of the bastide towns of south-west France and some experts maintain that it is also the oldest bastide town in France.
Besides its warm ambiance, Figeac offers an exceptionally well preserved heritage consisting of medieval houses and palaces, which were built between the 12th and 14th centuries by rich Figeac merchants. Also located in Figeac is the Champollion Museum, which is dedicated to Egyptian art. Extensive information is gladly offered by the city’s office de tourisme. On Saturday mornings Figeac rises to the bustle and activity of the colourful market which brings back memories of the medieval times, when noblemen and international merchants exchanged with local farmers. Today’s products are still sold underneath the buildings that saw history unfold.
Cahors is nicely located, near the Lot river which can be crossed by means of the reinforced bridge Pont Valentré, the breathtaking city symbol. Local legend has it that the bridge build’s foreman made a deal with the devil to be able to complete the bridge, but was able to retain his eternal soul using a ruse.
The city is known for its truffles, the market on Saturday mornings and the dark, intoxicating Cahors wine. The main street, Boulevard Gambetta, looks inviting with its platanus trees, bars, restaurants and shops. To the east of the Boulevard Gambette lies the old neighborhood, with houses that remind one of a glorious past and the Roman Cathédrale St.-Etienne. The cathedral is one of the most original dome-churches in southwestern France. The best part of the cathedral is the 16th century tympanum above the northern door, on which the ascension of Christ, carried by angels, is shown. At the office de tourisme you will find (usually free) information and walking routes to discover the city, including using an unusual walking route past 30 different gardens hidden in the various corners of the city’s old neighborhoods.
Furthermore a tour (by car or bike) of the Cahors wineries makes a decent activity