Eat, Explore and Experience
Only the best make the list.
Links and Recommendations
Theres plenty to visit and do, as well as lots of great places to eat. Here are some of our favourites…
The Tarn offers plenty of kayaking opportunities. Burlats on the Agout is nearby, but an hour’s drive to the Gorges du Tarn gives you the choice of several centres in this stunning area, where the water is more sedate and you can even get transport back to your car.
We are so fortunate to have this park built for and by the ten communes of Lautrec (open mid-June to September). Inexpensive, spotlessly clean. Kids clamour to go back to it.
Mountain Biking & Walking
The right to roam is the norm in France, avoiding crops and grazing herds of course, and you can walk in all directions directly from La Bastide. There is a variety of walks and mountain biking routes flagged up throughout the Tarn. (Bikes can be hired in Lautrec.)
Another charming riverside town (the birth-place of Jean Jaurès). The former bishop’s palace houses the Goya Museum which has a fascinating sub-section giving the history of the resistance activities in the Tarn during WWII. The old merchants’ houses opening directly onto the River Agout along the Quai des Jacobins are Castres’ show-piece. Only 15 mins from us, Castres has many restaurants and bars.
Yes the Cité looks like a film-set, the place heaves in peak season and the many restaurants compete to serve the world’s worst cassoulet, but the fortified walls (and surrounding views from them), gateways and narrow streets are so impressive that it is one of those places everyone should visit once.
“La rouge” Albi is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in France, dominated by the huge fortified cathedral towering above the 11th Century Pont Vieux across the River Tarn. Fine formal gardens attached to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.
A fortified hill-top village with a small amphitheatre where musical events are held throughout the Summer. Panoramic views from the peak above an ancient windmill, pretty 15th Century Place des Halles, everywhere beautifully maintained – and very peaceful, except during the Pink Garlic and Bread Festivals. Lautrec’s fame stems less from its association with the little man than from its cherished pink garlic of which 4000 tons a year are sold world-wide.
Cordes was built between 1222 and 1229, in 1222, Cordes received its charter from the Count of Toulouse to become a “bastide”. Bastides were “new towns,” originally conceived to resettle and shelter people who had been displaced by the Albigensian Crusade. Though not fortified, bastides were often built in defensible locations. The citizens of Cordes, having built their homes within the original 13th-century ramparts, live in some excellent examples of preserved 13th and 14th-century Gothic architecture. Cordes is home to the Museum of the Art of Sugar and Chocolate. The museum contains hundreds of pieces of art made completely of sugar.
Resto des Halles, Castres
Great place for lunch above the covered market. Good value, during the week the working people of Castres fill the restaurant.
Cafe Plùm, Lautrec
Great place for lunch or evening show! Live music in the evenings. Has a bookshop with an eclectic collection for all.
Cafe de la Place, Serviès
Great Sunday afternoon lunch, beneath the plane trees. Children can play in the square, while you can keep watch. Time stands still here. Good food, not expensive.
Fantastic fish and seafood restaurant in Castres. Has great local Gaillac wine. The fish comes directly from the fishmongers that forms part of the restaurant.
La Terrasse de Riquet, Revel
Great restaurant, copious and delicious. Great outdoor terrace and glass enclosed dining room all overlooking the water jet from the ‘Lac de Saint Ferreol’. The reservoir is a great place to spend an afternoon on the beach and swimming in the lake.
La Bombardière, Cuq-Toulza
Copious home-cooked food. Served with a smile. Great price set menu. Can sit outside on the terrace.
Great brasserie/restaurant, serving excellent quality gourmet food. Friendly service and a good price on the fixed price menu. A la carte is more expensive.