Cordes Sur Ciel
22km. A must visit bastide town! It is possible to ride in the Petit Train from the lower square to the old town at the top of the hill - it is a climb of 78 metres so the train is recommended! There is a wealth of 13th century buildings within the five lines of fortification. Many are now the workshops of artisans so there is an element of tourism. Stop for a coffee at the restaurant in the Place de Bride with superb views over the valley.
Albi, UNESCO World heritage
On the banks of the Tarn river, the old city of Albi reflects the culmination of a medieval architectural and urban ensemble. Today the Old Bridge (Pont-Vieux), the Saint-Salvi quarter and its church are testimony to its initial development (10th - 11th centuries). Following the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics (13th century) it became a powerful episcopal city. Built in a unique southern French Gothic style from local brick in characteristic red and orange colours, the lofty fortified Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile (late 13th century) dominates the city, demonstrating the power regained by the Roman Catholic clergy. Alongside the cathedral is the vast bishop’s Palais de la Berbie, overlooking the river and surrounded by residential quarters that date back to the Middle Ages. The Episcopal City of Albi forms a coherent and homogeneous ensemble of monuments and quarters that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.
Albi was also home to the famous French painter, Toulouse Lautrec
A museum dedicated to his life and works is housed in the Palais de la Berbie, with the largest collection of his paintings in the world. Afterwards, have a wander through the French gardens at the back of the Palais, bordering the River Tarn.
Cap'Découverte for thrill seekers
At le Garric, just below Carmaux (about 23km from the house), discover 250 acres of wilderness with a multitude of sports and leisure activities: skate-park, giant zip line, paintball, karting, water sports, as well as more gentle activities such as crazy golf, pétanque and a swimming pool with water games.
was a major town for mining and glass blowing between the 18th & 20th century. You can visit two museums dedicated to each.
Explore the medieval village of Najac
A stunning example of the famous Bastides of the south-west and awarded 'one of the most beautiful villages of France' status. Lunch on one of a number of sunny terraces looking deep into the valley of the Aveyron from this defensive ridge.
This part of France is famous for its castles and there are certainly plenty of them all within easy reach of La Tourette, including Villefranche de Rouergue, the Château des Graves, Château du Bosc, the Château de Bournazel, the fortress of Aubin and the royal fortress of Najac.
Take a visit to a local French market and choose from a selection of tasty French cheeses, meats, fresh fruit and vegetables to take back to the house for a leisurely lunch. Try Carmaux (10km) on Friday, Naucelle (16km) on Saturday and Najac (17km) on Sunday.
There are several beautiful gardens to enjoy in the area; Les Jardins des Paradis in Cordes sur Ciel (19km), created by Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurieres both well known landscape designers in France. Close to Albi (23km) there are two to discover, the more formal Jardin du Palais de la Berbie and the Parc Rochegude, created in the late eighteenth century and designed around a classic French park. Les Jardins de Quercy (24km) is an English inspired garden, ornate throughout the season. Jardin d'Eden du château du Colombier (52km) invites you to explore the lush landscapes and a wide variety of plants, trees and flowers in five different medieval gardens.
is famous for the wine produced from the vineyards in the area. The rows of vines stretch as far as the eye can see, and the area is one of the oldest wine producing regions in France, dating back to the 10th century. Visit the tourist office in Gaillac to pick up more information about the wine and the map for the Route de Vin. And finally, don't forget to buy some of the local produce!
Why not spend a day in Toulouse
Easily accessible by the motorway in just 1hour 30 minutes, wander through its streets, stop for a coffee and watch the world go by. This beautiful 'ville rose' or 'pink city' so called because of the warm coloured bricks used for many of the buildings is a lively and bustling place. Don't forget to visit the 'Cité de l'Espace' - Space City.
Spend the day at Aigueleze
- a large leisure complex where you can waterski, sail, jetski, canoe, play tennis or golf, and go horse riding...
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