Although France might be frosty at this time of year, the crisp, picturesque winters of The Tarn provide ample opportunity for outdoor activities, allowing visitors to make the most of the area’s outstanding natural beauty.
Tucked away in the rural heart of South West France, homeowners at La Durantie are able to enjoy numerous winter activities right on their doorstep. The estate grounds offer the perfect opportunity for crisp winter walks, while longer rambles can be taken through the scenic beauty of the nearby Grésigne forest, with almost 1000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty, showcasing the best of France’s surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. The forest is one of the largest oaks forests in Europe, and classified by the European Commission as a specially protected ecological area – and it’s not hard to see why; the rolling slopes of the expansive hilly woodland offer incredible views of The Tarn’s vineyards and patchwork fields. It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque place to take a brisk winter hike.
Others may choose to experience the rural beauty of The Tarn by horseback. Horse riding is popular in the area, with the nearest stable located just 500 metres from the Chateau itself. The gentle curves of The Tarn’s unspoilt countryside are ideal for horse-lovers; riders can meander through the tranquil woodlands undisturbed, or those more adventurous types may choose to take part in one of several endurance competitions in the area. The Tarn is a paradise for horse-lovers.
For those who’d prefer to see The Tarn on two wheels than on four legs, cycling is another ideal way to explore the wintry landscapes of the area. Residents can enjoy a leisurely pedal through sleepy villages, past glistening rivers and rolling hills. A popular route begins in Albi, and heads east into increasingly woody surroundings, leaving the vineyards and villages behind for oaky hills and cypress trees.
For winter sports enthusiasts the pistes of the Pyrenees Mountains are easily accessible from La Durantie, with Ax le Thermes ski resort only 90 minutes away. The Pyrenees Mountains stretch across France, Spain and Andorra and offering breath-taking views. Residents at La Durantie have great flexibility when it comes to when and where they go skiing, and for how long; some may choose to spend just one day skiing, while others may want to hit the slopes every day. Residents of La Durantie are further spoilt for choice when it comes to resorts. As well as Ax le Thermes, the resorts of St Lary and Piau Engalay are easily accessible on the French side, as well as Pas de la Casa in Andorra and Bacqueira in Spain.
Whether you decide to ski, cycle, horse-ride or hike your way around the enviable scenery of The Tarn, those spending a winter break at La Durantie will not leave disappointed. With so many different ways to enjoy the stunning wintery surroundings, The Tarn is a truly unbeatable location for a refreshing winter retreat.