With Albi being so close,
you will have ample opportunity to spend some time wandering its streets. There is plenty to do in the town for quite a few trips so don't cram everything into one morning. It is a beautiful town, dominated by its red brick cathedral which is of course the first thing you should visit. Some facts- it took 200 yrs to build, is 113m in length, 35m wide, 40 m high and has a tower that is 78m high! Open all day until 18.30 between June & September. The rest of the year, it closes for lunch!
Albi was also home to the famous French painter, Toulouse Lautrec.
A museum dedicated to his works and his life is in the Palais de la Berbie, it has the largest collection of his paintings in the world. Afterwards, have a wander through the French gardens at the back of the Palais, bordering on the River Tarn.
Gaillac 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!
Visit a local market to really appreciate why
the French take their food so seriously - Friday morning in Gaillac, every morning except Monday in Albi (place Lapérouse)...
Cordes-sur-Ciel, a beautiful bastide town
perched proudly on top of a hill, is about 25km away, perfect for a leisurely visit. Classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, you will understand why when you approach it. However, it does get very busy so go early or late to miss the crowds. A truly unique place.
Spend the day at Aigueleze (about 10km away from Gaillac)
- a large leisure complex where you can waterski, sail, jetski, canoe, play tennis or gold, go horse riding...
Why not spend a day in Toulouse (58km),
easily accessible by the motorway, and 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. Not forget to visit the 'Cité de l'Espace' - Space City.
... should not miss the gallery Les Abbatoirs in Toulouse which houses more than 2,000 examples of modern and contemporary art from World War II to the present day (www.lesabbatoirs.org)
On your bike!
Find your way around Toulouse by bike. Cycles can be hired next to the tourist office at Place Charles de Gaulle. Rental is 2 euros per day or 1 euro for half a day. A 260 euro deposit is required.
About 50km in the Castres direction,
you will come across a completely different landscape - an area that retains a sense of mystery - the Sidobre plateau overlooking the Castres plain. Here you will find huge granite bolders shaped by the weather into weird and strange forms - find the one called Roc de l'Oie (Goose Rock) or Les Trois Fromages (the Three Cheeses). Underground rivers and grottos complete the picture. Difficult to describe but worth the visit.
Go buy some pink garlic in Lautrec, to the south.
The area around the town is famous for its production of garlic, with over 380 producers and at least 4000 tonnes being produced a year.
Jardins de Martel
South of Rabastens on the D12, this is something for all garden lovers. Nine acres of garden containing over 2500 varieties of plants from all over the world.
Visit the Château de Mauriac just outside Gaillac.
This is a stunning château to visit where the owner displays his sculptures and works of art.
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