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5 charming villages near Toulouse, France | Midi-Pyrenees villages

posted by Liza 26th November 2018 0 comments

Last updated on December 5th, 2018

French villages are a huge attraction for the tourists from all around the world. Some pretty villages can be found near Toulouse, in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. In this post, I want to tell you about 5 charming villages near Toulouse that I visited on my weekend road trip in France in November.

If you haven’t been to Toulouse before, I recommend you to visit the city, because it’s as charming as the villages surrounding it. I have a post about my weekend in Toulouse that I spent last year, where I tell about the best itinerary for Toulouse and the best attractions in this gorgeous city. If you’re coming to Toulouse for a weekend, you can explore Toulouse in 1 day and then spend another day hiring a car and visiting the best villages in the Midi-Pyrenees. For hiring a car, I recommend Avis, which is located in Toulouse airport. We almost always rent with Avis these days and get really nice and new cars.

Let’s get started with the best villages near Toulouse:

Cordes-sur-Ciel

The village that impressed me most in Midi-Pyrenees is undoubtedly, Cordes-sur-Ciel. Located 1 hour driving away from Toulouse, Cordes-sur-Ciel can be seen from far away due to its elevation (it’s located on a hill) and it’s really beautiful from the outside. But it’s even more impressive if you climb this hill (or well, drive there, as you can park pretty close to the top of the village), as you’ll see a charming Medieval village that looks almost intact (as if you were transported into the 17th century). The centre of Cordes-sur-Ciel has a lot of art and souvenir shops and plenty of lovely restaurants. I recommend spending at least 2 hours in Cordes-sur-Ciel and if you’re planning to grab a bite there, maybe even more.

Albi

Albi might be a bit too big to be called a village, it’s rather a small city. It’s a beautiful place and it’s definitely worth visiting. The city center is actually quite compact, so you don’t need more than 2-3 hours in Albi. Albi is escpecially famous because of its Saint Celilia of Albi cathedral that is almost 800 years old and it very impressive inside. Also, the views of Albi from the river Tarn are definitely worth taking a look.

In Albi, there’s a nice food market (just near the cathedral), which is even open on Sundays (until 2 pm, however, most stalls close around 1 pm). You can try some local wines, charcuterie and pastries there. 

If you’re interested, what camera do I use to take photos, I have two: Sony A7 III with Samyang 35 mm prime lens (super flat and tiny) and Sony A6000.

Castelnau-de-Montmiral

Another one of the beautiful villages near Toulouse is Castelnau-de-Montmiral. It doesn’t have as many landmarks as other villages and towns listed here, however, it’s pretty by itself and in case you’re interested in fine dining, it has a restaurant included in the Michelin guide on the main square (prepare for pretty high prices and advance reservations though). Castelnau-de-Montmiral is such a small village that you won’t spend more than an hour there (most probably, way less, unless you decide to dine there).

Montauban

Just like Albi, Montauban is rather a commute than a village and it has a population of 50,000 people. Depending on where you’re from, that could be almost nothing, however, Montauban is a bit bigger than a traditional French town or a village. Montauban has actually quite a few things to see and do, including just wandering around the city and enjoying the sunset over the river (guess, which one?) Tarn, of course. It has a very beautiful main square – Place Nationale, Ingres Museum and Montauban Cathedral.
If you’re in Montauban on Sunday evening, please be aware of the fact, that you won’t be able to eat anything from 3 pm to 7 pm, as that’s the way French restaurants work in smaller towns. Our plan was to have a dinner in Montauban, but we weren’t able to find anything that was open, so we had to drive to Toulouse to eat (it wasn’t a problem, since we had to fly back from Toulouse anyway).

Tarascon-sur-Ariege

Tarascon-sur-Ariege is one of my favourite villages in Midi-Pyrenees. Located half-way to Androrra (from Toulouse), it’s a great place to go for a hike or for a walk. We spent a night in Tarascon-sur-Ariege, as we were coming back from Andorra quite late in the evening and Tarascon was a perfect place to stay in terms of geography. Tarascon-sur-Ariege might not have some famous sights like Albi or Montauban, however, it’s a charming little village that looks straight like from the Beauty and the Beast (musical) and if you climb to the small tower, you will see a gorgeous panorama of the town.

Where to stay in Midi-Pyrenees

If you’re planning to stay in Midi-Pyrenees overnight, I recommend following hotels: Domaine de Massoulac, Relais de Mirepoix, La Tissandiere Hotel

Interested in other places we would recommend in France?

– We did this great road trip starting in Nice and visiting all the beautiful coastal towns in cities nearby (read about our experience in this post)

– We went to Marseille for a weekend a hiked to the most beautiful calanques near the city

– We spent a weekend in Toulouse and fell in love with it

– We visited all the most photogenic locations in Paris (worth a perfect shot)

Hope you liked this post! Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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