Cultural and Historical Highlights of the Tarn, South-West France, Now More Accessible with New Flights

Destination PR - Cordes sur ciel at dawn (002)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. 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. The new flight routes are an indicator of increased visitor numbers and now place this unspoiled department of the Tarn, south-west France firmly on the UK tourist map.

Flight information

  • Flights from London Stansted to Toulouse with Ryanair depart once a day from November 2016 and start from £29.98pp for a return journey (www.ryanair.com; 0871 246 0000)
  • Flights from London Gatwick to Toulouse with easyJet depart three times a day during low season and four times a day during peak season and start from £54.87pp for a return journey (www.easyjet.com; 0330 365 5000)
  • Flights from London Heathrow to Toulouse with British Airways depart three times a day during low season and four times a day during peak season and start from £98pp for a return journey (www.britishairways.com; 0344 493 0787)

Accommodation options are varied from the boutique L’Ancienne Auberge in Puycelsi, the authentic Chateau de Mayragues in Castlenau de Montmiral, to the Hotel Mercure in Albi overlooking the Tarn River.

For more information, please visit Le Tarn Tourisme, www.tourisme-tarn.com/tarn/en

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