The Tarn department in south-west France, encompasses some of France’s most fascinating history and rich culture. With quaint bastide villages, picture-perfect views and a host of museums, this unspoiled region makes it a unique destination for lovers of history and culture.
Additionally, a new daily direct flight to Toulouse from Stansted with Ryanair from 1st November 2016 now makes The Tarn even more accessible to UK tourists.
Cordes sur Ciel, Puycelsi and Castelnau-de-Montmiral are just a few of many adored bastide villages of the Tarn.Labelled amongst 50 of the most beautiful villages in France. Taking a walk through these charming villages is like strolling through time. The well-preserved gothic archways and timber framed shops perched upon hill tops, sets the scene of south-west France in the 13th century, which was caught up in the crusade lead by Pope Innocent III and his Catholic followers to rid the area of Catharism. The war has played a fundamental role in shaping these villages that are greatly treasured today for their spectacular views, handsome medieval architecture and are also now classified among the most beautiful villages in France.
The region’s stunning capital of Albi, today a UNESCO world heritage site, holds some of the area’s finest architecture. Bustling with life and well preserved, it resonates in historical allure with its medieval heritage. Street signs can be found written in both the old Occitan language and French, and there are several distinct sites that date back to the Cathar period. Highlights include The Bishop of Albi’s fortress, where visitors can enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the gardens of The Berbie Palace and the largest brick built cathedral in the world – the Sainte Cécile Cathedral – which were both built to symbolise the strength and power of the Catholics after the Cathar crusade.
Visitors can be inspired when exploring the galleries exhibiting the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Beside the cathedral, in the bishop’s palace, the Lautrec’s museum holds a fabulous collection of his youthful works, drawings, portraits and posters. Donated, by his mother, Countess Adele de Toulouse-Lautrec in 1922, his artwork tells a fascinating story of his childhood and growing up with his disability. Rooms in the museum also contain a large collection of paintings by Gauguin, Matisse, Degas, Vlaminck and Bonnard.
Now thanks to a new daily direct flight route with Ryanair to Toulouse Blagnac from Stansted, this undiscovered area of South-West France is now even more accessible for UK tourists. Already served by easyJet and British Airways, visitors are now provided with further opportunity to explore the cultural and historical adventures of the Tarn with flexibility and ease with a choice of three airlines from three London Airports.