Le Colombier

Tarn & Tarn-et-Garonne

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Accommodation

  • Ground floor: Open plan living/dining room/kitchen (TV, CD, DVD, video, oven, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, A/C). Telephone (incoming calls only). WiFi.  Heating available throughout the house.
  • First Floor: Double bedroom (A/C) with en suite shower room.
  • Outside: Established gardens. Private parking. Covered dining terrace with a separate shower room. Table tennis. Barbecue.
  • Private heated swimming pool (9m x 4m) with Roman steps, surrounded by terrace.

This charming dovecote restoration will delight honeymooners or couples seeking a romantic break. Situated in an elevated position and surrounded by rolling countryside, it is constructed from gleaming golden stone and features a most distinctive tall turreted roof.

Inside, it is clear that much thought has contributed to the design: in order to maximise a sense of space, the living accommodation is all open plan and enjoys a stone floor, some exposed stone walls and wood beams supporting the high ceiling.

The thoughtfully designed kitchen boasts primrose yellow units, which combine well with beechwood surfaces, complemented by bright fabrics throughout.

An open tread wooden stairway with elaborate metal work banister detailing leads to the first floor where the double bed takes centre stage. The bed head mirrors the banister, being of similarly ornate wrought iron. Ingenious storage space has been created behind the bed and the pretty shower room sits behind this.

Le Colombier is just under 2km from Castelnau-de-Lévis where essential supplies can be obtained and just 7km to the east is Albi where, at its heart, a carpet of red roofs surrounds the immense bulk and soaring tower of the red brick cathedral, built to imitate the one in Toulouse.

Be sure to visit the beautiful walled cathedral gardens, so peaceful with their rose arbours, 18th century statues, plane trees and fountain or stroll down to the Tarn where the 11th century Pont Vieux is said to be the oldest bridge in France.

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Location of Le Colombier

Locality

Great Things to Do Near Le Colombier

Admire the view towards Castelnau de Lévis

from the poolside - the tower you see in the distance is the remaining part of the old château.

Why not simply lie down on a sunbed late evening

when it is dark and look at the stars - the clear sky will show them in all their glory. The best time to see falling stars is around 15th August!

It is feasible to walk into the village of Castelnau-de-Lévis

along the country road, and have either a good simple meal at the Restaurant Caramel or, for a more refined, gastronomic experience, a meal at La Taverne. Be aware that the walk back to Le Colombier is slightly uphill and so a bit more of an effort, especially after some food and drink!

You can actually visit the ruins of the château

& its tower you can see from the garden. For a far reaching view, climb the 200 or so steps up to the top of the Tour de Guet (watch tower). Sturdy shoes essential!

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.

For some peace and quiet, visit the small medieval church

of Saint-Salvy, in the shade of the cathedral and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the old XIIIth century cloister.

If you are in the area around the 21st June,

head into Albi for the evening. The whole of France celebrates the 21st June and it is known as Fête de la Musique - all the villages, towns and cities come alive to the sound of music throughout the day. Albi will no doubt put on a good show with lots of open air concerts.

Gaillac to the west of Castelnau de Lévis 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)...

Take a boat ride on the River Tarn.

La Mirandole is a flat bottomed boat called a 'gabarre' which will take you along the Tarn from the foot of the Palais de la Berbie in Albi. Trips last 30 mins or there is a longer one of 2 hrs that goes from Albi to Aiguelèze and back.

Whether you are 7 years old or 77 years old,

you will enjoy 'Cap découverte' at Le Garric, about 17km away. A former open pit mine, this huge space (about 1600 acres in total) has been turned into a place where you can do just about any sport - watersports, funpool with waterslides, cycling, rollerblading, and dry ski slopes. There is also a lakeside theatre where shows, concerts, laser light shows take place throughout the summer. And finally, not to forget its past, there is a mining museum. A fun day out for everyone.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, a beautiful bastide town

perched proudly on top of a hill, is about 23km 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.

Cordes-sur-Ciel is not the only bastide

in the area - make time to visit the following - Vaour, Bruniquel, Larroque, Puycelsi, Castelnau de Montmiral, Cahuzac-sur-Vère are just a few. Prettiest by far - and most spectacular castle - is Penne.

Spend the day at Aigueleze (about 8km away towards 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 (76km),

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.

About 65 km 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.

Or simply swim in the pool or sunbathe on the terrace

at Le Colombier. Relax and do absolutely nothing !

Art Lovers...

... 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)

Nearby

Towns

Gaillac 20 mins
Albi 20 mins
Monestiés 30 mins
Castelnau-de-Montmiral 30 mins
Cordes-sur-Ciel 30 mins
Castres 55 mins

Airports

Toulouse 55 mins
Rodez 90 mins
Carcassonne 95 mins
Pau 165 mins
Bordeaux 180 mins
Bergerac 180 mins
Times are approximate

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