First up, Cordes-sur-Ciel – the medieval bastide that is located so high up, on occasion, it is hidden in the clouds – hence its name. The very first Bastide of Midi-Pyrénées and a Grand Site of the region – entrance is through a portcullis and once you have climbed to the summit, you are rewarded with views like this (below). Jean-Paul Belmondo‘s dad lived here!
In the medieval city of Albi, you must stop for a while to look out over the old city with the Sainte-Cecile Cathedral, one of the world’s largest brick built churches often referred to as the “Fortress of Faith”, and the historic Pont Vieux.
You can pop into the cathedral to make your peace with the world (believe me – the interiors are stunning – a perfect counterpoint to this austere – and slightly terrifying – exterior).
You can go on the hunt for impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for Albi was his home town and here you will find the largest collection of his work in the world. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum features over 1,000 exhibits and its advantageously housed in the ancient fortress of the Berbie Palace.
Onto the Château du Bosc and Toulouse-Lautrec’s childhood home and in many ways, a shrine to both Henri and to his family. Technically, this is out of the Tarn and across the border in the Averyon. Unbelievable as it might seem, one of his descendants – the delightful Madame Nicole Tapié de Celeyran – will show you around the venerable house, slightly crumbling now, and will tell you the story of her family. You can almost hear the sound of former generations of the family, brought alive by her anecdotes.
Nearby, in Castres, look out over the river and the old buildings where dyed fabrics used to hang, drying in the wind – amazingly, they are now public housing.
Finally, do a spot of rock climbing! Deep in the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Haut Languedoc, the largest granite plateau in Europe in Sidobre in the department of the Tarn, Midi-Pyrénées, France, lies some surprisingly large pebbles! Some rocks weigh over 900 tons and miraculously balance over a smaller rock, over seven metres high.
Contributor and Photographer: Sue Lowry
The Tarn is part of the CRT Midi-Pyrénées which is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on Twitter – @tourismemidipy and Facebook: Tourisme-en-Midi-Pyrénées. The Tarn is also on Twitter – @TourismeTarn and on Facebook: tarntourisme.sudouest
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- Puppet on a string …. (magellanstraits.com)