Blessed with romantic landscapes of orchard-scattered fields, wild gorges and limestones plateaux, the Tarn-et-Garonne, in Occitanie, is also home to quaint medieval villages that will whisk you off to another era. With year-round festivities and events celebrating an oh-so-French tranquil and rural lifestyle, discover 10 reasons why you should make a trip to lovely Tarn-et-Garonne, whatever the season.
1. Taste exceptional local wines
Enjoy the local tipples at restaurants or directly with the winegrowers on their estates. The Tarn-et-Garonne has 6 designations to guarantee the quality of all the different wines: AOP Brulhois, AOP Fronton, AOP Coteaux du Quercy, IGP Lavilledieu, IGP Coteaux et Terrasses de Montauban. From independent wine producers to organic production, taste your way through the area.
2. Fall in love with the medieval villages
Tarn-et-Garonne is home to 3 villages classified as Most Beautiful Villages of France: Auvillar, Bruniquel, Lauzerte. But there are a lot of medieval treasures to discover: Montjoi, Caylus, Montpezat-de-Quercy, Roquecor…
3. Eat real Chasselas grapes from Moissac
From September, bunches of Chasselas grapes are ready to be harvested. Walk among the vines with a producer to learn about the grapes and enjoy a tasting.
4. Go on a romantic journey along the Canal of the Two Seas
The cycle path along the Canal of the Two Seas is built on the old towpath, lined with plane trees. It offers a wonderful spectacle of colours all year round. The most eye-catching one is in autumn, when the leaves float down from the sky, the Indian summer weather is lovely and warm, and the atmosphere is golden.
5. Enjoy the colourful markets
Each day of the week you can find a local market to peruse, basket in hand. Start with Caussade on Monday, then head to Valence d’Agen on Tuesday, Montech on Wednesday, Castelsarrasin on Thursday, Montricoux on Friday, Montauban on Saturday and finally Moissac on Sunday!
6. Have your breath taken away by the castles of Bruniquel
The castles of Bruniquel are built at the edge of the cliff and offer a breath-taking view on the Aveyron gorges and its wild nature. Come to visit these two amazing châteaux and get lost in the winding streets of Bruniquel. A hike on the “circuit du cabéou” to see the castles from the hill in front of the village is a must.
7. Have a sacred moment in Moissac cloister
The cloister of Moissac is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture with 76 intricately sculpted capitals. Built during the 11th century, the cloister is on the UNESCO heritage list as a major site on the Compostella walking path. Its unique, peaceful atmosphere offers a welcome break from the world.
8. Tuck into a French breakfast on Montauban’s Place Nationale
This square is the real heart of the town, a treasure of architecture built in pink bricks, with a double line of arcades. Since last summer, you can enjoy the water mirror in the middle of the square.
9. Choose your straw hat in Caussade
This town hides two great hat factories and the worksop of a hat block maker. Caussade was famous in the 19th century for being one of the most important “hat cities” of France and sold the famous “canotier” boat-hat and other straw hats.
10. Enjoy a fresh canoe river descent on the Aveyron
Enjoy a paddle with the whole family on a descent of the Aveyron Gorges, punctuated with natural beaches, rapids and cliffs in a magical scenery with hidden treasures.
Lead photo credit : The rooftops of Lauzerte © Laurens Hoddenbagh / shutterstock
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