Tourism in the Tarn
Gaillac, Albi, Cordes sur ciel…
From Salvagnac, you will have access to a large selection of sites to visit in the Tarn and the Midi-Pyrénées.
The specific architecture of the bastide villages, roman sites (St Sernin in Toulouse, St Pierre in Moissac, St Foy in Conques…) Or Gothic architecture (St Cecile in Albi, les Jacoblins in Toulouse). You will admire the private XIV and XV century mansions which once belonged to the rich pastel traders, in Albi, Toulouse, Lavaur and the Lauragais. The St Jacques de Compostelle pilgim route also crosses the region.
This is the heart of Occitania country, a testimony to a rich history dating back to the medievel times. ‘La Langue d’Oc’ the language of troubadors and spoken by half of the French population, once forbidden, is now again spoken throughout the region.
You will hear about Catharism in the middle ages, a religious doctrin close to the protestants and severely put down by the Roman Catholic Church during the inquisition, causing the slaughter of thousand of inhabitants. After years of massacres the Languedoc region was annexed by the French crown, laying down the foundations for French unity.
You will roam the countryside spotting the ‘Pigeoniers’, a true architectural heritage, some with round towers, set on pillars or arches with a straight or rounded roof, built in either stone or brick
The Bastides Circuits
Fascinating symbol of Cathar heresy :
St Cecile Cathedral, masterpiece of gothic architecture is fortified with ramparts and parapets, its construction began in 1282 by the Lord-Bishop of Albi and ended in 1480. It was built as a defensive fortress and statement of strength after the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), waged by the Catholic Church against the Cathars and the Count of Toulouse.
The ‘Palais de la Berbue’ and the ‘Tarn Gardens’ Home to the bishops in the XIIIth century, today it hosts the Toulouse Lautrec museum, painter born in Albi in 1864.
“Le Vieil Alby”, old town – ‘Maison du Vieil Alby’ – ‘Cloître St Salvy’ – ‘Le pont vieux’… Lapérouse museum, famous XVIIIth century navigator.
The banks of the Tarn – boat trips on the ancient ‘gabares’ flat bottom boats. Parcs and gardens
Bastide founded in 1222 by Raymond VII from Toulouse during the ‘Albigeois’ crusades. It was a favored refuge for Catharism followers. Perched on a hill top it is famous for its narrow winding streets and magnificent gothic houses dating back to the golden age when Cordes was a rich commercial center.
At the present date it is now home to numerous craftsmen and artists. Things to see :
La Maison du Grand Fauconnier, la Maison du Grand Veneur, la Maison du Grand Ecuyer La Halle, l’Eglise St Michel, the fortifications.
LA ROUTE DES BASTIDES ALBIGEOISES,
Les ‘castelnaux’, first created in the middle ages became the ‘bastides’ (new town), there are 36 of them. They were created by powerful lords who wished to consolidate their power and political influence in the region, control their borders and exploit the land.
The ‘Route des Bastides’ will take you through Salvagnac, Lisle-Sur-Tarn et Castelnau de Montmiral, Puycelsi, Vaour, Penne du Tarn all the way to Cordes and Monesties.
Tarn Valley – Gaillac
Gaillac : Set in the heart of the vineyards by the same name, Gaillac is a dynamic town with a large shopping center. Parcs, museums, elegant town houses, narrow winding streets, squares bordered by arcades, ancient medievel houses built in brick and wood, are some of the things to admire.
The ancient ‘Abbaye St Michel’, founded by Benedicitin Monks in the XIth century is now the tourist office hosting ‘la Maison des Vins de Gaillac’ (wine tasting, initiation courses…). Its gardens regularly host concerts.
Montans, nearby was a pottery making center in the gallo-romane times.
l’archéosite museum – Tel. 05 63 57 59 16
Lisle sur Tarn : Bastide-port set on the banks of the Tarn River, founded by Raymond VII Count of Toulouse, a large square bordered by medievel houses in narrow winding streets, museums (chocolate museum) will ensure you a pleasent walk.
Rabastens : Founded in the XIIth century by the Moissac Benedictin Monks. An important stopover on the ‘St Jacques de Compostelle’ pilgrim route.
Things to see : Notre-Dame du Bourg XIIth and XIVth century church), magnificent roman portal, frescos. The ramparts – city wall on the banks of the Tarn River, elegant town houses.