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Hilltop village home only 7km from Lauzerte

Terrific Tarn-et-Garonne

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A guide to some of the most beautiful villages in France


Think south of the Dordogne and North of Toulouse, West of Provence and East of Bordeaux, the Tarn-et-Garonne department is loved for its unparalleled peace and quiet, hot summers, delicious food - and its medieval Bastide towns.

Usually perched on hilltops these exceptionally pretty towns rise up out of a green and lush landscape, offering stunning views out over the countryside. Just right for a stroll in the sunshine or a coffee in the square they are near-perfect historical havens.
These towns should be at the top of your list of places to visit for day trips in the Midi-Pyrénées region.

Still very much working towns, most of the buildings are occupied as home or businesses. Wander the main streets on a sunny Saturday and you may well find yourself in the middle of the regular food market but look up and you'll see you're ringed by beautiful and quite remarkable stone and timber architecture dating back to between 1200 and 1400. Lovingly preserved, these elegant buildings were originally built as part of the towns' plans to defend themselves from English invaders during the 100 Years' War.

The following towns and villages are great places to visit in the Tarn-et-Garonne and are officially designated as amongst 'Les Plus Beaux Villages de France' - a nationwide French government initiative to recognise these special and historically significant towns.

Lauzerte


This central square fills with a spectacular market every Saturday. For a sunny lunch in the square try 'La Table des Trois Chevaliers' – they do a particularly delicious Salade Gourmande in the summer. Historians might be interested to learn this was one of the first besieged towns to free itself of the English at the end of the Hundred Years War. There's also a Pilgrim's Garden marking the town's role as a historic staging post on the famous pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Bruniquel


Not one but two castles dominate this small town, perched high on a rocky promontory above two rivers. The views are stunning. A centre for the arts and with a handful of lovely eateries, combine a visit here with a drive up to the kayaking centre at St-Antonin-Noble-Val. Hire kayaks and other water equipment by the hour or the day and explore the beautiful gorges and white water along the River Aveyron.

Auvillar


The town is built round an unusual triangular market place surrounded by majestic medieval timber and brick mansions. Sunday is market day bringing all the sights, sounds and bustle of a traditional French food market. Prefer to eat out, look for the clock tower and you'll see Le Petit Palais restaurant - a popular year round lunch stop for locals - the menu du jour is very good and extremely good value.




The Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées also boasts a huge bounty of other towns and villages - just as picturesque - which although not registered are still definitely worth a wander. Off the beaten track but easy to reach they're just waiting to be discovered. Maybe it's only legendary French paperwork that's putting them off going for submission – here's some examples of other beautiful towns and villages to visit, judge for yourself...

Montjoi


Like a film set but totally real, the village is tiny with just one main street. It's pedestrianised but there's a free car park just outside the old city wall a few steps away. Look out for 'La Cage Aux Oiseaux' – a restaurant with Michelin pretensions (but not the price) at the end of the main street.

Montcuq


Strictly speaking just inside the neighbouring Lot department...but only just.
Market day is Sunday and it's big and blousy - literally. Everything from fresh fruit and veg to clothes, fabric and linens.

Castelsagrat


Stroll the cool, shady colonnade surrounding the town square and make your way round to Boulangerie Reusa – not only French bread baked to perfection every day (well you'd expect that here) but also the most delicious patisseries which are impossible to resist. There's also a bar and a tabac to complete the suite. A little gem.

Moissac


No stay in the department is complete without at least one visit to Moissac.
Famous for its beautiful Romanesque abbey church and cloisters, the Abbaye Saint Pierre is also a World Heritage Site, situated on the official pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. The city has a thriving and very traditional French food market every Saturday and Sunday.




We hope we've whet your appetite to give this lesser known region a try. Now take a look at some fabulous properties on offer in the Tarn-et-Garonne near Toulouse and see for yourself.

We recommend Maison de Saint Jean, a hilltop village home with great views of the countryside and only 7km from Lauzerte. The property sleeps 8 and has a private heated pool (Thursday to Thursday bookings only).

Note: This article may contain or reflect personal opinions and cannot be considered contractual.
Full property details and booking terms and conditions are available on the relevant property page(s).
Entry fees, opening hours and other information is correct as of publishing, February 2017.


   

Visit some of the most beautiful villages in France.

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