I’ll overtly admit that I had little clue about Occitanie till visiting the area earlier this 12 months in Spring. Mendacity within the south west nook of France, bordered by the Mediterranean on the east and the Pyrenees mountains on the south, Occitanie was fashioned as not too long ago as 2016 when the areas of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées have been merged collectively. What are you able to count on? The area has all of the fairytale appeal that France is known for : vibrant meals, fabulous wines, medieval castles, tons of tradition plus among the nation’s prettiest villages and market cities. One key notable variations was the shortage of crowds which was refershing. I set out on a 5 day roadtrip earlier in April with Bjorn aka the Social Traveler to see what we may uncover and I’ve provide you with an inventory of cool experiences we found. Whereas this isn’t on no account complete listing and information to the area, this publish provides you with some concept of the vary of cool issues to do in Occitanie plus I’ve shared a information beneath to some funds pleasant cool locations you’ll be able to keep in whereas travelling via the area.
1.Have a Espresso and Watch the Individuals Go by in Place du Capitole, Toulouse
That is Toulouse’s central sq., ignored by a grand neoclassical palace replete with elaborate frescoes. The Capitole homes town corridor, the Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse opera firm, and the Orchestre Nationwide du Capitole de Toulouse. The brick and marble facade seems equally fairly by day, or lighted up at evening.
High tip: Absorb the views with a espresso on the terrace of the historic Le Florida cafe and restaurant. Embellished within the Belle Epoque type, the interiors of this cafe are improbable and one other good excuse to cease by right here for a drink.
2.Go to the Well-known Palm Tree of Toulouse in ‘Convent des Jacobins’
You may uncover the great thing about the well-known ‘palm tree of Toulouse’ within the stunning Dominican Church- Convent des Jacobins. Quite a few slender columns help the vaulted Gothic roof of the lofty church. One of many columns helps the 22 ribs of the vaulted roof of the choir- giving rise to an ornate construction resembling a Palm Tree.
3. Admire the Pastel Blue Shutters and Doorways of Toulouse
Regardless of being generally known as the pink metropolis, the pastel blue shutters and doorways of Toulouse’s homesteads will assail you in your metropolis wanders. Relationship all the best way again to the Renaissance, native merchants of Toulouse developed a commerce in ‘cocagne’ – little balls of pastel blue derived from a yellow-flowered plant that yielded a blue dye. These have been extremely coverted by the aristocracy of Toulouse, Albi and Carcassonne, bringing unprecedented wealth into the world.
4. Have a Glass of Wine in the perfect wine bar on the planet
Elected the Greatest Wine Bar within the World in June 2017 by The World of High-quality Wine the atmosphere of the No 5 Wine Bar is to die for, as are its formidable vary of high quality wines. Both select from a spread of pre-selected wines by the glass or by the bottle accompanied by aptly paired finger meals.
5. Be an Astronaut for a Day at Cité de l’espace
Cité de l’espace or Metropolis of House is an excellent theme park located on the japanese outskirts of Toulouse. It’s the excellent place to spend a day having enjoyable with the household. Quite a few out of doors and indoor reveals and installations dot the park. These vary from full-scale fashions of the Ariane 5 rocket, Mir area station and Soyuz fashions. The installations are each informative and interactive, which doesn’t make studying really feel like a chore. Highlights embrace a 280 seater planetarium and a 300-seat IMAX cinema.
High tip: Entry payment of €24 is a bit steep so preserve apart just a few hours to take advantage of your funding.
PS: Should you’re eager to learn extra about Toulouse, checkout my earlier publish about the way to spend a few hours in Toulouse.
The historic capital of Gascony, Auch is 70 kms west of our earlier cease, Toulouse.
By no means heard of this metropolis? Neither had I however wandering the slender streets of this fantastically preserved medieval city was an actual deal with.Perched at dizzying heights on a hilltop, the small city overlooks the Gers River. ‘Haute-Ville’ is so excessive up that in olden occasions, villagers had steep stairways constructed all the way down to the river banks. For a small city, it packs numerous historical past and has some very fascinating connections- from Napolean III to D’Artagnan and the Trendy Circus motion because of Circa- right here’s a low down of the perfect issues to do in Auch.
Issues to do in Auch
6. Cathedrale Sainte-Marie
When in Auch don’t neglect to go to the Cathedrale Sainte-Marie, greatest recognized for its sonorous organ and rose stained-glass home windows together with the 1500 intricately carved wood stalls. The organ was commissioned by Napoleon III. Do check out the Renaissance masterpieces on present there.
7. Checkout the Metal Sculptures of Jaume Plensa
I used to be privileged to have seen Jaume Plensa’s work ‘Alma del Ebro’ (Soul of the River Ebro) earlier final 12 months throughout my 24 Hours in Zaragoza so I used to be pleasantly stunned to find his presence in Auch. In Auch, Jaume put down on the bottom an unlimited forged iron plate engraved with the Latin textual content from the Outdated Testomony quoting the Deluge episode in reminiscence of the tragic floods that hit town in 1977. You will notice the sculpture whereas descending the monumental staircase of Auch.
8. Climb the Monumental Staircase of Auch and Have a Probability to Meet the Actual D’Artagnan!
Additionally to be found in Auch is the Monumental Staircase. It is a grand neo-Renaissance type staircase bridging the decrease and extra lofty elements of the city in a grand style. 374 steps may have you bypassing a number of gardens, fountains and terraces and a good-looking statue of D’Artagnan, the character in Alexandre Dumas’ well-loved books and primarily based on a real-life individual, Charles de Batz who was born within the Chateau de Castelmore.
9. Go to the Birthplace of the Trendy Circus
One other the cool truth about Auch is that’s house to the trendy circus motion and to CIRCa: the Circus Innovation and Analysis Centre which is devoted to supporting the innovation course of behind modern circus.
CIRCa is a nationwide hub that helps efforts within the modern circus motion. Yearly, thirty groups of would-be circus artists create future exhibits, work on methods, write and hone their abilities in Auch. At CIRCa they’ll set up their equipment (trapeze, ropes…), their scenography, or put up their huge prime for some time to create or rehearse exhibits which helps them break new grounds in circus arts or devise new circus methods. Circa or the Circus Innovation and Analysis Centre is a perfect place for supporting the innovation course of behind modern circus.
If you’re curious to seek out out extra and go to the centre drop them a line here and likewise do think about testing the pageant of contemorary circus held right here yearly: the dates this 12 months are from the 19th to 28th October
Tarn & Garonne area: MOISSAC & AUVILLAR
On pilgrims path to Santiago Compostela lies Moissac which is house to the historic UNESCO world heritage Saint Peter’s Abbey. Right here’s an inventory of issues to do in Moissac together with a visit to the picturesque Auvillar.
Issues to do in Moissac
10. Cycle the Canal de Garonne
The Canal de Garonne is a mid-19th century canal connecting Toulouse with the Castets-en-Dorthe. The route is a tranquil passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic, enabling many small boats to cowl the stretch safely. There are a variety of spots to find alongside the 193 km stretch of canal approach. Biking alongside the canal approach is a pleasurable approach to absorb the sights of the area. The canal traditionally had about 53 locks in its entirety, together with a number of bridges and aqueducts. A complete of seven aqueducts permits the canal to cross the Garonne and its tributaries at completely different factors. The 23 arched Agen aqueduct and the 13 arched Cacor aqueduct at Moissac are notable.
11. Abbey of St Peter
Checkout the Abbey of St. Peter: this church is a former Benedictine priory courting again to the twelfth century. That includes stunning Romanesque apses, a choir and a carved wood altarpiece together with many treasures of non secular artwork within the chapel, the Abbey of St Peter needs to be in your itinerary.
12. Pattern the Grand Dore at Pâtisserie Cédric Moretto
Pop into Pâtisserie Cédric Moretto to pattern their signature chocolate – ‘the Grand Dore’- a mixture of darkish chocolate, native chasselas grape and armagnac. Wealthy and completely soften within the mouth- these have been such a decadent deal with!
13. Go to one in all France’s most stunning villages: Auvillar
You’ll cross via some very scenic and delightful stretches of Occitanie countryside enroute to Auvillar. There are a number of scenic photograph alternatives overlooking the Garonne on this historical pilgrims route. I cherished Auvillar. Guarded by a good looking 17th century clock tower , that is undoubtedly one in all France’s most stunning villages with image postcard half timbered homes & monuments like its historic round corridor the place corn and different grains was once exchanged , the clock tower and the Church of St. Pete. Proper on the finish of the village tucked away is a panoramic viewpoint which provides stunning views of the Garonne and its valley.
I extremely advocate lunch at Petit Palais in Auvillar: their mounted seasonal menu for 20 euros, together with wine is tremendous worth.
Regardless of the despondent mizzle of rain, the episcopal metropolis of Albi was a revelation- from hidden Romanesque cloisters, half-timbered homes in slender streets, to its brick pink stunning cathedral and the improbable Toulouse Lautrec Museum- there was a lot to find on this place. All over the place we turned to on this metropolis, we discovered magnificence. Town grew to become extraordinarily rich due to the pastel commerce and that also exhibits at this time. The medieval metropolis with one of many oldest bridges on the planet is ideal for a weekend getaway. You’ll end up wandering slender alleys, dreaming away at Berbie palace and admiring the grandeur of the cathedral within the coronary heart of town. Right here’s just a few cool issues to do in Albi
14. Style the native Pastry ‘Petit Jeanot’
What higher technique to begin the day than sampling the native pastry? I nibbled the ‘petit jeanot’ on the native market corridor. That is an anis primarily based candy that’s typical of the area. I discovered it to be an acquired style however I did gorge on a splendid collection of the native cheese. I may simply have spend the whole day, grazing via the fabulous native market.
15. Go to the Church of St Salvy
There’s a stunning Romanesque cloister hidden behind the Church of St Salvy . Whereas the church itself is a feat of Gothic-Romanesque structure, it’s the quiet cloister to the rear of the church that gives a serene area. The cloister has high quality history-laden capitals constructed by Vidal de Malvesi. One of many oldest elements of Albi, that is the proper place for studying a e-book and quiet contemplation.
16. Benefit from the artworks at Musee Toulouse Lautrec
The Musee Toulouse Lautrec has the biggest assortment of the nice artist’s works on the planet. I loved my temporary time exploring the museum and viewing highlights just like the work ‘La Belle Helene’ and ‘Au Salon de la Rue des Moulins’. Equally stunning was the situation of the museum- within the 13th century Palais de la Berbie, overlooking the River Tarn.
17. Admire the Grandeur of Saint-Cecile Cathedral
One other jewel in Albi’s crown is the 13th century Saint-Cecile Cathedral, also called Albi Cathedral. I couldn’t assist however admire the grandeur of the cathedral within the coronary heart of town. Constructed within the southern Gothic type and constructed virtually solely of brick, the gorgeous bell tower varieties a distinguished characteristic. The ornate, elaborate stands at marked distinction with the stark, brick exterior. Be sure to note the gorgeous cathedral organ, Renaissance frescoes within the big vaulted ceiling and detailed filigree stone work within the choir.
Carcassonne is a fortified, medieval metropolis, perched on a hilltop. It’s most well-known for its medieval citadel- La Cité, whose early partitions date again to Gallo-Roman occasions. You could discover the controversial concentric neon, yellow stripes on the partitions of the fortress- the brainchild of the modern Swiss artist Felice Varini. The art work will probably be on show until September 2018. The peerlessly preserved medieval citadel homes 50 residents together with a really illustrious knight-local teacher and knowledgeable historian, Jean-François Vassal.
18. Study the noble code of chivalry at ILC Carcassonne
My journey to Carcassonne was fairly temporary however in that point I learnt the way to be a knight because of Jean-François who runs ILC Carcassonne. We even donned some armoury and marched throughout the citadel. Fab enjoyable! Jean-Francois’s speak coated all the things from the 13th century clothes that knights ( studying stuff just like the metallic coat that knights would put on in battle could be a heavy mesh, weighing as much as 15 kgs! offering glorious safety however should have been drag to put on ) and their women would don plus the forms of weapons used and their noble code chivalry. If you’re thinking about studying to turn into a knight, Jean runs plenty of workshops and classes-checkout his Facebook page for extra particulars
Price range locations to remain in Occitanie
1. Lodge Ibis Toulouse Centre
Handle: 2 Rue Claire Pauilhac, Toulouse
This lodge, a part of the Ibis Chain, is conveniently positioned in Toulouse metropolis centre, near Jeanne d’Arc Metro Station. Regardless of the impersonal exterior, the lodge inside may be very trendy, with a welcoming 24 hour reception. A plentiful buffet breakfast is on supply every morning with a spread of candy and savoury dishes. The in-hotel Wi-Fi is superb and the bar is open 24/7.
Costs begin from €70-€80 mark through Booking.com
2. L’hôtel de France, Auch
Handle: Place de la Liberation, 32000, Auch.
It is a historic lodge positioned within the coronary heart of the outdated metropolis of Auch, within the coronary heart of Gascogne. The interval particulars have been retained wherever potential within the lodge, significantly in Le Restaurant, providing high quality eating and Brasserie Le 9eme, serving up regional dishes. The employees are multilingual and the lodge provides excessive pace web.
Costs begin from €80 mark through Booking.com
3. Le Moulin de Moissac, Moissac
Handle: 1 Promenade Sancerre, Moissac.
In operation since 1474, this historic lodge is a good selection with comfy rooms and views of the barge-filled Canal du Midi. The majestic lodge has fantastic atmosphere because of its enviable views, adorned interiors, piano bar and spa providers. All rooms have views of the River Tarn and lodge visitors have the choice of indulging in riverside leisure actions like canoeing and boating. Town centre of Moissac may be very shut by and offers alternatives for visiting the Abbey of St Pierre.
Costs begin from €100 mark through booking.com
A extra funds pleasant different is a mattress and breakfast known as Elika located additionally in Moissac’s city centre. Costs begin from €65 through booking.com
4. Maison de Julia, Albi
Handle: 28 Rue du Capitaine Julia, Albi
This boutique design lodge was most likely my favorite place to remain in the entire journey. The lodge is located in Albi metropolis centre, simply 800 m away from the famend Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. Rooms are aesthetically pleasing, minimalist and trendy with air-conditioning and a terrace. There’s a seasonal out of doors pool and a superb continental breakfast is served every morning. The lodge employees are welcoming, making this lodge keep appear to be a house away from house. Extremely advocate.
Charges begin at €90 mark through Booking.com
If budgets don’t allow, alternatively you’ll be able to e-book the beautiful Lodge Les Pasteliers located within the coronary heart of Albi. Charges begin at €55 through Booking.com
Large thanks to Birgitte and everybody at Tourisme Occitanie for bringing me to Toulouse. Additionally an enormous hug and because of Bjorn for inviting me on this superb journey. Extra tales and moments from this trip-please checkout the hashtag #TourismeOccitanie #DestinationChallenges