The weather is warming up already and the countryside is bursting to life once again with spring flowers appearing and wild life getting active. As La Durantie is in an environmentally protected area called Natura 2000 it means our area, in particular, benefits from many wild and rare fauna and flora. Coming to life now are wild, bee and pyramid orchids, which we get in abundance in May, and rare green frogs (Pelodytes ponctatus).
Further afield the area is home to a dramatic and varied landscape including expansive vineyards, rolling sunflower fields (which come alive in the summer), beautiful hilltop villages, the winding Tarn River and the Aveyron gorges.
Visitors can enjoy the region on foot using the 800km of hiking trails, or take to two wheels on the many traffic free cycle paths, making it easy for families or less confident riders to safely explore the area. The ‘Droits de l’Homme’ greenway spans for 48km across gentle terrain, taking cyclists on a leisurely ride through some of the Tarn’s best countryside.
Cyclists can ride through the town of Castres, also known as ‘Little Venice’, a reference to its pastel coloured houses sitting on the banks of the Argout River. Other places of interest en route include Lautrec, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France featuring a charming 17th century windmill, and the city of Albi (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
If cycling is not for you, north of the Montagne Noire in the Haut Languedoc Regional Park lies a mysterious forested area called Sidobre. The area is home to strange rock formations caused by a stream of molten magma three hundred years ago. The area is a natural playground with miles of clearly signposted trails, making it easy to walk amid the trees and fascinating stones. Visitors can take photos hanging off the ‘Peyro Clabado’, a 780 ton rock of massive granite perfectly balanced on a rock of only 1 m² , or cool off from the spring sun at the ‘Blackbird Lake’ (Le Lac du Merle).
For more information see www.tourism-tarn.com