Situated in the rural village of Cruejouls between the valley of the Lot and gorges of the Tarn in the north of the Midi Pyrenees, approx 30kms east of Rodez. This is a comfortable self-contained apartment on one level of our village house. more info...
If you?re looking for tiny medieval villages, rolling hills, and old men wearing berets, this is the place for you. As the name suggests, the Midi-Pyrenees includes the middle section of the Pyrenees mountain range. Jutting out from the Spanish border like a tree stump, the land-locked region borders the Dordogne region in the west and Languedoc in the east. Lakes, rivers and lush valleys dot the landscape, making the journeys from town to town an important part of any trip here.
The region is divided up into eight different ?departments? or counties, and there are countless villages to be explored in each one. Rodez, the main town in the Aveyron county, was built on a hill overlooking the Causse Plateau. Don?t miss its Notre-Dame cathedral, impressive because it was built of red sandstone. Roquefort-sur-Soulzon is of course the birthplace of that gloriously stinky roquefort cheese (said to have been invented by accident by a shepherd). Cahors sits on the banks of the Lot River, and a beautiful 14th-century bridge (the ?Pont Valentr??) spanning the river is its most famous landmark. According to the town, the bridge is one of the most oft-photographed sites in France. Lourdes, a pilgrimage destination ever since a young girl claimed she saw images of the Virgin Mary in a cave there, has turned into somewhat of a kitschy souvenir market. Yet each year 5 million visitors come to see the cave where the Virgin was seen and to touch the healing waters of a spring there.
The region?s capital, Toulouse, offers a totally different feel from these quaint villages, though it has its own charm and without doubt merits a visit. A university city (only Paris has more students), Toulouse is lively year-round, with an active nightlife scene and great dining. Thanks to its status as Europe?s aeronautic center, students, researchers and engineers come from the world over to work here. Yet its history is visible too. It was ruled in turn by both the Romans and the Visigoths, and these days it?s hard to start a new construction project without turning up bits and pieces of the past. Known as the ?Ville Rose? because many of its monuments are built of red brick, there is a wealth of beautiful architecture dating from its heyday in the early Renaissance.
Winters are generally cold (average temperatures hover around 6 degrees) and summers are hot (with highs in the upper 20s).The more temperate Autumn and Spring months, especially May to June and September to October are a good time for sightseeing.
The area?s capital city, Toulouse, is well-connected to both France and Spain by air, train and highway. The airport (Toulouse Blagnac International Airport) is just a short drive out of town, though reliable buses are available for those without their own car. A web of trains run through the area, connecting it to most other points in France. The rail ride down from Paris will take about 5 hours. If you choose to drive, the nearly 450 miles between Toulouse and Paris take about 9 hours, while Barcelona is just under 4 hours away.
This is a largely rural region, where the mountains and forests provide the backdrop for many activities. The Pyrenees National Park is an obvious starting place for nature lovers. Stretching 100 km along the Spanish border, the park includes several unique valleys with lakes, forests and incredible mountain scenery. Hiking trails crisscross the park, many of them following the same routes goat shepherds have used for centuries. Both in and outside the park, biking, walking and, in autumn, mushroom collecting (always check with an expert before eating!) are popular as well.
Cultural activities abound too. Toulouse alone offers more than a half-dozen art museums, and a fine museum dedicated to the 19th century artist Ingr?s in is Montauban. In Roquefort, learn about the famous moldy cheese by taking a tour in one of the caves where cheese is aged. And of course, countless castles, cathedrals and palaces can be visited throughout the region; don?t miss the Palais de Berbie in Albi, an episcopal palace with gorgeous gardens.