Cadourel is a great place for relaxing
with a cool drink, swimming or do a spot of sunbathing yet its situation is at the crossroads of the Lot, the Tarn, the Tarn-et-Garonne and the Aveyron and in easy reach of lots of great things to see and do.
Just 10 minutes away
is the very pretty, unspoilt and historical town of Caylus where you will find charming little shops and a lovely bakery-patisserie that sells local sweet specialities. There are also two markets a week on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
A prestigious history is woven into the walls of this authentic medieval town, with its old stone houses and narrow winding streets. On the Pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val is set in picturesque and stunning surroundings alongside the Aveyron river gorge and the white, breathtaking cliffs of the Roc d'Anglars.
Visit the famous Sunday market
in Saint Antonin, held every Sunday under the 18th century covered market hall and spreading out through its streets. This one is not to be missed - it must be one of the biggest and maybe the best in the region.
The area is ideal for canoeing
hire one in Saint Antonin to explore the river and enjoy a lazy summer day on the water.
There are plenty to choose from: if you like jazz, visit Albi at the beginning of July, Montauban mid July and Souillac the 3rd week of July. Blues lovers can go to Cahors mid July and a general music festival is held in Verfeil sur Seye at the end of August.
The nearby village of St Projet
holds a number of events throughout the summer - a fête weekend, a 'giant omelette' evening, a night market and an outdoor theatre in the château. Posters in the locality will advertise such events. The château is recommended for a visit, open from the beginning of July until the end of September.
About one and a half hours' drive from Cadourel lies France's fourth largest city on the banks of the Garonne river and known as the 'Ville Rose' for its pink-coloured walls. Home to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who wrote The Little Prince, several great rugby players and Cassoulet Toulousain (bean and pork stew).
Le Château de Belcastel.
Built a thousand years ago, this stunning fortress rises above the picture-postcard village of Belcastel. Don't miss the fantastic views over the Aveyron valley and a unique collection of illustrations and cartoons.
Great fun for the children
visit the Acrobranche at Martiel (from the age of 4 to adults) where they can try highwire trips through the treetops. Or come down to earth with a game of mini-golf at Saint-André de Najac.
Parisot is another pretty village
The bakery in the back streets of the village bakes in an original wood oven and bread is only sold in the afternoon. People come from a distance to buy it. Don't forget to spend some time at the lake.
Visit the manmade Lac du Parisot
where you can hire boats, fish, swim in the summer. There are pleasant walks around the lake but it can be busy in the summer. Drive towards Parisot and turn right down the Najac road as you enter the village, youll find the lake on your right about 1km down the road.
proudly perched on a high rock, with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. This town is full of secrets and magic - one of France's unforgettable medieval bastide towns (about 30km). Art and craft shops line the narrow cobbled streets - very popular with tourists so go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.
The Secret Gardens of Cahors
The secret gardens were first created in 2002 and consist of 29 separate gardens around the city, each with a different theme. There is a marked path linking the gardens and it is possible to follow the trail around the city in a half day.
Cadourel is within easy reach of two of France's most splendid caves.
The Grotte de Pech-Merle near Cabrerets on the river Célé (1 hour away) is world famous for its wall paintings and visit the picturesque hill-perched village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. The Goufre de Padirac (2 hours) near Rocamadour makes a great outing sailing down its underground river.
Gaillac is about 40 minutes drive
from Cadourel and is surrounded by vineyards - pick up a bottle of the local produce while there. Or go west to Cahors, also famous for its wines.
This part of France is famous for its castles and there are certainly plenty of them all within easy reach of Cadourel, 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.
Explore Villefranche de Rouergue
which is a living, thriving bastide town. Meander the narrow streets in the old town. Go on a Thursday when it is market day; colourful sunshades over the stalls, old farmers wearing floppy blue berets, housewives bustling here and there. Take an al fresco lunch at one of the restaurants over looking the market or alternately cross the Aveyron and eat at the Globe. After lunch drive north, the 10 km or so to Villeneuve sur Lot for a completely different bastide experience.
Have a game of tennis
in Saint Antonin or Caylus, or if golf is more your thing there is a great course in Albi (recommended by previous clients). There is lots more sport in the area too including caving, horse-riding, rock-climbing or get on a bike - they are for hire in Najac or Villefranche de Rouergue.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a spell of poor weather
why not visit the cinema (Le Querlys) in St Antonin. Many local shops have leaflets giving film details and times etc, and they often show English language films.
Visit the Abbey of Beaulieu
on the D33 towards Parisot. Though the modern art on display there may not inspire you, the splendid old Cistercian Monastic buildings and their setting never fail to impress. See the trout tank (it still works!) through which the River Seye was diverted to provide fresh fish for the monks in years gone by.
Park your car in a permitted parking area (vehicles have no access to the village in the holiday season) and walk to the ruined fortress which dominates the village. There are steep climbs but fine views over the Aveyron and surrounding countryside. The fortress is worth a visit too. Pizzas at Il Capello are excellent, cooked au feu du bois by Lorena the Italian grandmother who owns the restaurant.
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