An owner’s perspective

 

Jan Lawson, who recently reserved a 2 bedroom house at La Durantie, gives an account of what attracted her to the luxury chateau development and the Tarn region of France.

 

“For me, the thing that sets La Durantie apart from other properties is the onsite facilities and the management team. Everything is taken care of while you are away by the onsite management and the English speaking staff are on hand to help you during your stay. This provides a safety net and removes the worry of owning a holiday home abroad where you don’t speak the local language.”

 

“La Durantie appealed to me because you can choose a house that is manageable in size but comes with extensive leisure facilities and beautiful large grounds that you wouldn’t normally have access to on a single plot. It has all the things you would enjoy about owning a big house, but without the upkeep.”

 

 

“The leisure facilities at La Durantie really appealed to me as it extends the appeal of the development beyond the summer months. It means that my home is more than just a holiday home, as I have access to everyday activities, such as swimming and making use of the gym. Having leisure facilities onsite is a key attraction for me as these help drive rentals and return on investment.”

 

“I plan on gradually increasing the time I spend at my holiday home, as my workload gradually winds down. I will start by just spending a few weeks a year there, with the plan to gradually start spending more and more time there as the years go by.”

 

“I am buying through the leaseback system which requires our home to be included in the rental pool for a set number of weeks per year and entitles me to a 20% VAT reduction on the sales price. This makes the cost of owning a property on a high-end development in France more attractive and good value for money as it covers my management costs for the year.”

 

“I have happily owned a time share in the Lake District for 13 years now, called Underscar, situated in the grounds of a manor house, and with its very own red squirrel sanctuary on the estate. It is very similar to La Durantie as it also comes with on-site leisure facilities and on-site management. Having been so satisfied with Underscar’s on-site management and leisure facilities, I was immediately attracted to La Durantie.”

 

 

“The Tarn was attractive to me because it sits within a dramatic landscape without being extreme. I enjoy visiting the many bastide towns all within striking distance of each other, and exploring the local French markets. I always manage to find something new and interesting when visiting the Tarn. La Durantie’s location was a key factor in my decision making as it offers stunning views of rolling hills and vineyards from your very own home.”

 

“I was particularly attracted to the Tarn because there are fewer British expats than other areas such as the Dordogne, and instead much more opportunity to integrate with the locals and experience the real France.”

 

Keep checking our blog to keep track of the exciting developments at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie.


Build continues in an area of outstanding natural beauty

 

La Durantie sits in an environmentally protected area surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside and between two of the most beautiful villages in France, Puycelsi and Castelnau-de-Montmiral. It is one of very few developments in France to receive a permit to build in an area of such outstanding natural beauty and the developers strive to conserve this area’s rich biodiversity.

 

 

Castelnau-de-Montmiral market, 5 minutes from La Durantie

 

Whilst construction continues at La Durantie, all is done correctly according to environmental regulations to make sure that every bird, Caterpillar, and orchid is logged and “rehomed where necessary”. Residents will be able to enjoy the diversity of flora and fauna found at La Durantie by getting involved in a variety of “back to nature” activities right on their doorstep. Sit in your garden and listen to the beautiful sound of the nearby deer mating calls, go wild mushroom foraging in the adjacent Grésigne forest, or simply sit back and enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the surrounding countryside.

 

 

With the autumn sun continuing to shine in the Tarn, weather conditions are set to be perfect to complete the foundations of the first 10 houses at La Durantie, keeping it on track for its first homes in early spring 2016. Keep checking our blog to keep track of the exciting developments at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie.


Top Tips For Brits Moving To France

Jeanne Boden, Sales Director at La Durantie offers some tips and advice from her 19 years living in The Tarn in South West France with her family of four.  Her experience as Sales Director at La Durantie – a historic chateau development with 57 new build homes on the estate, means she has personally spoken to many British second home seekers.  She has a good knowledge of their concerns and frequently asked questions.

 

Here are Jeanne’s latest top tips for anyone moving to France:

 

1. The paperwork – be prepared to be patient as the administrative system is a lot slower in France than in England.  Original copies are required for all documentation whether for a mobile phone or insurance and it is often quite difficult to get things done over the phone or online.

 

If you are renting a house you need to ensure you have a contract in French even if you are renting from British owners.  Also, some utility bills in your own name will be required to show proof of residency for car insurance etc.

 

2. Getting connected to TV and WIFI - nowadays the first essential requirement is WIFI and internet.  Check whether your property has “haut debit” or high speed broadband (at Durantie this is all handled for you).

 

Firstly you need a France Telecom line installed in your own name.  If you are buying a house that is not part of a managed resort, your previous owners must close down all their contracts with utilities before you are able to install your own.  This is still done by letter, so there can be delays.

 

There are four main service providers with different packaged deals and can include your French mobile phone should you opt for this, when choosing your live box.  The average price is 30€ per month for unlimited broadband with free calls to Europe and some TV included.

 

It is necessary to call the service providers by phone to purchase order your live box and set up a contract.  You will need to speak good French or find someone who can do this for you.

For British Satellite TV contact your local electrician.  He will be able to advise the correct installation for your satellites in order to pick up the essential UK channels.

 

If you are renting a house you need to ensure you have a contract in French even if you are renting from British owners.  Also, some utility bills in your own name will be required to show proof of residency for car insurance etc.

 

3. Rural banking – if you are moving to a rural area it is advisable to open a bank account in your nearest town.  It is much more straightforward for signing documents etc. if your branch is nearby.

 

4. Car insurance – if you are bringing your right hand drive UK car with you to France, you will need to get the car registered for France.  You have six months where you can still drive on UK licence plates and your UK insurance will cover you. Thereafter you are required to have a French vehicle registration document (“carte grise”) from your local administrative office (“prefecture”) in order to get French insurance.  This can be obtained in person or online.

 

5. Pets – If your dog or cat is moving with you, they will need to be micro – chipped and have up to date vaccinations.  Many rural places do not have fenced gardens so if your dog is likely to wander then it might be worth considering an underground electric perimeter fence line.  This is a harmless system that creates invisible boundaries for your pet through either a perimeter wire or wireless through radio or WiFi signals to their collar.

 

6. Income tax – seek advice from your UK accountant to ascertain whether you need a French accountant for your affairs when you become a resident in France.

 

7. Registering to vote – Once you are settled in your new home in France do not forget to pay a visit to the local Mairie (Mayor’s office) and let them know who you are. You are eligible to vote in local and European elections if you have EU nationality.

The mairie is the mayor of your village, town or city. They are an elected representative with a ‘direct line’ of communication to the decisions made locally, and are usually based in the town hall, which is likely to be one of the most impressive buildings in the town.

The role of the mairie in France is especially key in rural areas.  It is best to know what your local mairie will expect from you or be able to help you with. They will be able to advise on all administrative matters in your commune and if not can direct you to find the information you need.

 

8. FINALLY do learn French!!


Museums in the Tarn – a region steeped in history and culture

 

The Tarn is a region of France that is rich in both history and culture, demonstrated by the large variety of museums it has to offer. One of the most famous museums in the area, as mentioned in our blog post in April, is the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi (35 minutes from La Durantie), home to the largest collection of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s work.  The museum has a new exhibition running up until the 3rd January, exhibiting some of the best photographs of Marilyn Monroe by the famous photographer Bert Stern.

 

Albi has also recently opened a fashion museum, Musée de la Mode, home to a private collection of clothes and accessories covering the period from the 18th century through to the 1970s. Each annual exhibition is selected to highlight a particular historical or creative theme, this year’s theme being black and white, ‘Noir sur Blanc’. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from the 1st April to December 28th: 9.30am-12am and 2pm-6pm. The museum is set in a beautiful historical building with many architectural elements dating back to the 12th century such as a spiral staircase and splendid vault.

 

The region’s interesting history dates back to The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209-1229), a 20 year long military campaign led by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism. During this crusade, the Cathars conquered many of the splendid fortifications and castles that are a major attraction in the area today, such as the beautiful fortified towns of Puycelsi(12 minutes from La Durantie).

 

 

The Musée du Catharisme in Mazamet (about an hour from La Durantie), in the heart of the Montagne Noir and the Cathar region, provides an in-depth portrayal of the Cathar tragedy. The museum is located on the second floor of the Office du Tourisme in a beautiful 19th century mansion, on Rue des casernes. The museum is open from 10:00 am-05:00 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays throughout October, and closed for two hours over lunch between 12 and 2. Whilst you’re there make sure to visit the nearby village of Hautpoul, and see the remains of the castle that was besieged by Simon de Montfort during the Cathar crusade.

 

Château de Mauriac (25 minutes from La Durantie) is a breathtaking Templar castle, classed as one of the 50most beautiful buildings in France for art and decor and with a 1 Michelin star rating. Located in Senouillac, between Albi and Cordes-sur-ciel, the castle is a very short distance from la Durantie. Take a stroll around the beautiful grounds and marvel at the stunning art work inside. The château is open every day for visitors over the summer period (unless stated otherwise), from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm. An adult ticket costs 7 euros, and a child ticket costs 4 Euros.

 

 

The town of Gaillac, only 15 minutes from la Durantie, has 3 different museums to offer, Musée de l’Abbaye, Musée des Beaux-Arts and Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle. On the first three Thursdays of each month the museums offer a pause café, pause musée system from 12.45pm to 2pm for €2.50. It is a quick and cheap option with a guided tour of the museum of your choice followed by a cup of coffee. Musée de l’Abbaye focuses on the history of wine growing and production in the area, whilst Musée des Beaux-Arts portrays the works of some famous painters from the area, including Jules Cavalliès and Raymond Tournon.

 

 

As you can see, the Tarn certainly has a lot to offer when it comes to museums. Make sure to follow us on twitter @ChateauDurantie and on pinterest for more suggestions of interesting things to do in the area.


Le Terroir de Tarn

 

As the hot September sun continues to shine in the Tarn, construction continues at full speed at La Durantie. Terracing is now complete for the foundation preparation of plots 1-6, including the private pool areas of plots 3, 4 and 5 (as pictured above). These three plots will be part of a mini hamlet, made up of three-bedroom homes with ensuite bathrooms and a shared courtyard, La Cour Braucol which is one of the Gaillac grape varieties and coincidentally chosen for the house red this year.

 

 

Even as autumn approaches, the sunny days in the Tarn with temperatures still in the high 20s, will draw residents outside to their shared courtyards for al fresco lunches and evening drinks with their neighbouring friends. Whilst the homes’ individual courtyards will provide a secluded, private space where residents can relax and recharge in the autumn sun.

 

 

September is an important month for both La Durantie and the local area as it signals the start of the wine harvest.  With its own onsite colourful vines La Durantie is preparing for the harvest in full swing.  In the near future, homeowners will be able to taste wine made on their doorstep and enjoy picturesque views of the wine domain situated at the most southern part of the development.

 

 

The Tarn is the oldest wine-producing region in France and is acclaimed for the country’s finest reds whites and sparkling wines. Wine lovers can look forward to celebrations in nearby towns, offering their own ‘Fête des Vendanges’ (wine harvest celebrations), such as one taking place in Bruniquel on the 20th September.

As you can see September is an exciting month in the Tarn. Residents at La Durantie can enjoy the hot September weather, as well as benefiting from fewer crowds when visiting nearby sites. Keep checking our blog to keep track of the exciting developments at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie.


Diggers have arrived at La Durantie!

 

Despite temperatures reaching a toasty 33 degrees this week, diggers and wheelbarrows arrived at La Durantie to start constructing the first 10 houses at the luxury development.

 

One thing which will make the properties at Durantie so special is that each of them is to be built on a slightly different level, making all the rooftops different heights. This rooftop effect replicates that of nearby hilltop villages such as Castlenau de Montmiral and Cordes sur ciel, following in the authentic Bastide style.

 

One of the houses being built is Le Castelnau which, like many of the houses at La Durantie, is named after one of the beautiful villages surrounding the site. Le Castelnau is a stylish, 3 Bedroom house with two en suite bathrooms and stunning views all the way along the pool to the rear garden. Plot 1 comes with the added feature of a beautiful 150 year old well in its private garden.

 

The houses are to be grouped into mini hamlets of 4 to 6 houses with a shared courtyard. As members of the Country Club, residents will be able to stroll in the Château’s lush gardens and enjoy the Château’s peaceful   indoor and outdoor pools. Most of the properties will additionally have their own indoor private pool or Jacuzzi. Another property being built, the 2 bedroom Le Corduries, on plot 2 is having a Jacuzzi semi submersed on its wooden deck terrace.

 

Residents at La Durantie will also be able to enjoy the development’s own Country Club and its various luxury facilities. The chateau’s belle époque salons and terraces will be the heart of the Country Club, which will add a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to the development, and become a place where residents can wine and dine, and socialise with kindred spirits from the area.

 

 

Members can interact while making use of the Country Club’s tennis courts, croquet lawn, beach volleyball net, and the pitch & putt golf course. Residents can also dine in The Bistro and Bar on the lower ground floor of the Château, tasting some of the best and most innovative dishes from local chefs.

 

As you can see, there is a lot to look forward to at La Durantie, and the site will be undergoing a big transformation over the next few months after the famous French august break. Keep checking our blog to keep track of these exciting developments, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie


Ceremony Celebrates Start of Build

 

On 6th July 2015 local dignitaries, architects, contractors, local influencers and media from France and UK came together to celebrate the start of build at La Durantie.  ‘La Pose Pierre’ ceremony is a tradition in France at the start of significant builds and the Mayor of Castelnau de Montmiral, Monsieur Paul Salvador was present to endorse this project which brings with it an economic aspect to this area as well.

 

Despite temperatures nudging 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), the crowd cheered-on Monsieur Christian de Pierpont of SARL Gresigne Résidence (Development Company) as the brick laying commenced with excitement.  Lunch was then served in the shade within the historical chateau building and conversations naturally turned to the fact that most home owners at Durantie will enjoy an ‘integrated’ swimming pool set within their landscaped private garden.

 

Following the ceremony, contracts were signed-off by the Director and Lead Architect allowing full works to begin.  Sales Director, Jeanne Boden said:

 

“We have been fortunate to gain a rare permit to build in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Wildlife and the necessary meticulous planning has taken two and a half years.  We are extremely happy to start seeing the fruits of our labour today; we expect the first two homes to be delivered by January / February 2016.”

 


La Durantie will soon become home to 57 vernacular designed single and two storey one to five bedroom detached homes.  There will also be two styles of apartments with either 2 or 3 bedrooms.  In-keeping with the local villages, homes will be arranged in small clusters of approximately four to six homes with private spaces and landscaped internal courtyards.

 

Country Club membership gives owners the use of private rooms within the chateau building such as the bistro, drawing room, library and two private rooms for dining or meetings.  Other onsite facilities will include 20 metre indoor and outdoor swimming pools, state of the art spa, tennis courts, croquet lawn, outdoor dining terraces & barbeque.

 

List of Ceremony Attendees:

 

  • Mayor of Castelnau-de-Montmiral, Monsieur Paul Salvador
  • Mayor of Larroque, Monsieur Bernard Audard
  • SARL Gresigne Résidence, (Director of the development co ), M Christian de Pierpont
  • La Durantie, (Sales Director), Jeanne Boden
  • Astruc Architectes SARL, Gaillac (Lead architect and maître D’ouevres), Monsieur Christian Astruc
  • Shareholder, Monsieur et Madame Delmas of INFACO (world specialist in secateurs production)
  • Dias & Fils, Gaillac, (Main builder), Alain Dias
  • Terracing/Landscape contractor, Monsieur Sylvain Laclau
  • Société Escaffre, Albi, (Roofing and wood frame contractor), Jean Michel Escaffre and team
  • ENTS Nimsgern, Albi (Plasterer / painter contractor), Jean Louis Nimsgern
  • L et L Energie, Albi (Electrical heating and plumbing, Monsieur Yves Lagreze and team
  • La Dépêche (Reporter)
  • The Metro (Reporter), Oliver Wadeson
  • The Guardian (Reporter),Emma Cook
  • Tempus (Reporter), Victoria Smith
  • P1 Communications (PR), Caroline Burnett


Le Tour dans Le Tarn

 

 

Today, (17th July) at 12h 40 the Tour de France will pass through the Tarn on the D631 road, past Graulhet and only 35 minutes from La Durantie. Graulhet is a charming medieval village, crossed by the Dadou River and surrounded by stunning countryside; certainly a picturesque spot for the cyclists to whizz through!

 

The Tour de France is a popular sporting event that attracts a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people per year. Some popular French cyclists taking part in the competition this year include Jean-Christophe Péraud, ranked number 11 in the world, and Romain Bardet, ranked number 12. Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are two of the five Britons in the Team Sky (GB) line-up.

 

The route covers 3,500 Kilometres in total, of which 198.5 kilometres of the route travels through the Tarn between Muret and Rodez (13th stage).  Upon reaching Rodez the cyclists will soon travel up the spectacular Gorges du Tarn (Tarn Gorge), a canyon formed by the Tarn River with numerous scenic villages to visit nearby.

 

Cycling is a popular attraction for holidaymakers in The Tarn with surrounding vineyards and sunflower fields. The bastide towns of Lisle-sur-Tarn, Cordes-sur-Ciel and Puycelsi are also often dotted with lycra-clad men and women experiencing ‘authentic France’ by bicyle.

 

Bikes can be rented for €12.50 a day in Gaillac (only 20 minutes from La Durantie), at Serge Botta’s business, located at 98 rue Joseph Rigal. A popular cycling route includes cycling through the Gresigne forest; 35 square kilometres of forest with marked tracks and paths, a short distance from both la Durantie and Gaillac. Alternatively, why not cycle past some of the local vineyards and get a taste of some of the delicious wines the local region has to offer. Château de Saurs, a short distance from the centre of Gaillac, offers spectacular views from its vineyards along the hillsides overlooking the right bank of the Tarn River.


New vines planted at Durantie

 

Located on a wine domain, overlooking undulating vineyards and miles of oak forest, La Durantie is a wine enthusiast’s dream; not only will homeowners be surrounded by beautiful Gaillac vineyards, they will soon be able to drink wine produced on their own doorstep. Gaillac itself is one of France’s premiere wine regions with a rich history of production, with the first vine plantations dating back to the Roman times. Wine lovers living at La Durantie can look forward to the annual Fête des Vins (Wine Festival) that takes place every August in the heart of nearby Parc de Foucaud.

 

The new vines at La Durantie have been planted this April as part of the restoration process at the chateau which will see it return to its former status as a vineyard domain. Not only will these vines produce delicious wine, they are also an impressive sight, adding colour to the already beautiful surrounding countryside. The vines are planted at the most southern edge of the site and provide picturesque views from the Chateau terrace.

 

La Durantie has clay soil and many nearby brooks and streams, creating perfect conditions for the “Petit Manseng” vines which have been planted.  This is a white grape that will be hand-picked late in the season (up to November), allowing the first mildews to appear and the rotting process to start.  This process is what results in the delicious sweet wines the region is so famous for.

 

La Durantie’s wines will be produced in attractive 50cl bottles for serving with puddings and foie gras, and will be available to homeowners at a discounted price.  The bottles will proudly bear the ‘La Durantie’ label, with its turquoise flying duck signifying an escape to tranquillity, an escape that will surely be made easier with a glass of fine Gaillac wine in hand.


The Tarn – What the Visitors Say

The Tarn is a beautiful place famous for its quaint villages, acres of rolling hills, unspoiled countryside and peaceful lakes. La Durantie itself is situated between two of the most beautiful villages in France, or officially “Les plus beaux villages de France” – two of just 150 villages in the country which hold this official label. Puycelsci is 6km from La Durantie and Castelnau de Montmiral is just 2km away.

 

Despite its beauty and tranquility, there is plenty to do and see in the region. The Tarn boasts some of France’s most interesting and popular tourist attractions.

 

But don’t take our word for it! Here’s what people are saying on TripAdvisor about the attractions:

 

 Jardins des Martels, Girousseus

 

 

“Simply beautiful”

★★★★★
By Peter, France – Reviewed 17th September 2014

These beautifully laid out gardens offer interest and colour from April to October. Try and go when the lotuses are out (June-August), they are simply beautiful. We have visited most months now and are never disappointed. 

Our top tip: Make sure not to miss the Japanese pagoda and stepping stones across the pond!

 

Hautpoul, Mazamet

 

 

“What an incredible location”

★★★★★
By Christina, Cardiff – Reviewed 6th February 2015

The tiny village of Hautpoul, thought to have been built in 413 by the Wisigoths is perched high above the town of Mazamet. It has been beautifully preserved and is now pedestrianized. There is a statue to the Virgin Mary overlooking the valley and the remains of a small medieval chateau. There is also a reconstruction of a medieval garden and a museum. The views are superb of the valleys.

Our top tip: Best explored by foot! A lovely ramble up to the top of the village will reward you with some amazing views.

 

Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi

 

 

“The Palais de la Berbie and its gardens, great collection”

★★★★★
By Anonymous, Croatia – Reviewed 4th November 2014

Thanks to the parents of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the museum possesses the largest collection of the artist’s work in the world. Over 1000 works, pictures, lithographs, drawings and preparatory studies including all 31 posters provide a complete documented approach of the artist and illustrate each facet of his innovative talent. The museum is located in a lovely setting.

Our top tip: The art of the great Toulouse de Lautrec is alluring enough to make the visit worthwhile, but the setting and the lovely gardens are not to be missed! Spring and summer visits are recommended. The museum reopened in 2012 after refurbishment; the sleek renovation has given a modern touch to the interiors of this impressive historic building.

 

Cathedrale Ste-Cecile, Albi

 

 

“The paintings are remarkable”

★★★★★
By Michael, Australia – Reviewed 22nd February 2015

Big! It is one of the biggest churches we have seen. It’s quite beautiful; the paintings are as remarkable as are the statues. Albi is a nice town to visit actually. We loved it – do yourself a favor and check it out.

Our top tip: Try one of the audio tours (available in several languages) to find out about the cathedral’s fascinating history.

 

Musée de la Mode, Albi

 

 

“A jewel of a museum”

★★★★★
By Hatty, UK – Reviewed 29th June 2014

I’ve visited this museum twice now and been stunned by the quality of the display and the wonderful venue. This is a private museum created by an inspired collector of costumes. They are beautifully displayed, the building is fascinating and in the oldest part of Albi. The catalogues are beautifully printed and there is even a shop where you can buy some vintage items if you have a penchant for collecting or the old and loved, as I do.

Our top tip: It’s not a huge museum, but make sure you leave enough time for your trip as the 5 rooms are packed with information and exhibits that are well worth taking your time to enjoy.

 

Le Sidobre

 

 

“Great scenery and walks”

★★★★★
By Mary, UK – Reviewed 7th July 2014

A brilliant part of the Tarn for walking and spectacular scenery – the granite formations provide excellent points of interest and photographic opportunities.

Our top tip: Sidobre is an absolutely great place for exploring by bike. There are plenty of cycle-hire shops in nearby Castres. 

 

Château de Penne

 

 

“A fantastic Medieval village”

★★★★★
By Denise, UK – Reviewed 14th August 2014

This castle is not a ‘French château’ it’s a proper fortified castle on the top of a huge approximately 200 foot rock outcrop. As spectacular as you would see anywhere in the world! A fantastic place to visit. The village is genuinely medieval and absolutely lovely.

Our top tip: Make sure you leave enough time to explore the picturesque medieval village as well as the castle itself.

 

Jardin des Paradis, Cordes-sur-Ciel

 

 

“Go There!”

★★★★★
By John, UK – Reviewed 11th September 2014

Well-advertised and worth following the signs if you are looking for somewhere a little different, away from the shops and tourists. A hidden gem with so much to see and appreciate in relaxing and peaceful surroundings. Different styles of garden in such a small area and good to see there is a small shop/cafe to stop for refreshments.

Our top tip: It’s a great place to visit during the summer months; an oasis from the heat with water features and a lovely pond….cooling and calming.

 

Musée Laperouse, Albi

 

 

“Australian connection to Albi”

★★★★☆
By Shanthini, Australia -  Reviewed 4 November 2012

The French explorer La Perouse was born in Albi. This museum is dedicated to his amazing voyage of discovery throughout the pacific and Asia rim. It contains relics from his ship which sank on his way back to France as well as maps and documents. Interesting link to Australia in this small town in South of France.

Our top tip: The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. So if you have any questions, let them know.

 

Musée Goya, Castres

 

 

“Small but well organised.”

★★★★☆
By Ben, Australia – Reviewed 31 May 2013

Delightful city council run art gallery that has permanent and temporary exhibitions. Free entry and helpful staff make this a worthwhile visit.

Our top tip: The museum shows much more than just Goya; there is usually a very varied selection on display. During sunnier months make sure to spend time in the lovely surrounding gardens.

 

Musée Charles Portal, Cordes-sur-Ciel

 

 

★★★★☆
By Jane, UK – “Beautiful”  Reviewed 1 August 2013

This is a magical place and getting the little train up to almost the top, saves your energy for walking the cobbled streets to the vantage point at the top. Steeped in history this is a picturesque place and one of France’s many treasures.

Our top tip: Not far from the ‘Jardin des Paradis’- try to incorporate both in one trip and spend some time taking in the breathtaking views of the tarn from this picturesque hill-top town.

 

Office de Tourisme de Castres

 

 

“Excellent – worth a visit!”

★★★★★
By Shanthini, Australia – Reviewed 10th October 2014

There are the usual brochures, of course, but the people themselves are what make it special. They really like their jobs and take time to talk and really answer questions. Very helpful.

Our top tip: Located next to the Goya Museum, the tourism office is really easy to find and great for finding out anything from simple directions to in-depth information about the local attractions.