Les Pierres Blanches
Mouzieys-Panens, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn
Cordes-sur-Ciel. With 800 years of history, Cordes was a Cathar stronghold and one of the early 'bastides' (fortified villages). It is a popular tourist venue due to its long history, considered among the most beautiful villages in France. It is also a stopover on one of the feeder routes to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.
Albi. A town with a long and rich history, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Old Bridge (Pont-Vieux), Saint-Salvi quarter, the fortified St. Cecile Cathedral and the bishop’s “Palais de la Berbie” and residential quarters. The Pont Vieux dates from 1040, while the cathedral was built between 13th & 15th centuries following the Albigensian Crusade, when the French King and the Pope joined forces to combat the Cathars, perceived as Christian heretics who threatened the Catholic Church. Albi is also home to a museum to Henri Toulouse Lautrec, the great post-impressionist iconographer of Parisian life.
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Another charming town with a long history, it is named after what the Romans called the 'Nobilis Vallis' (Noble Valley). It has a town hall dating from the 12th century but the origins trace back to a local 8th century Benedictine monastery. The town is also well placed for exploring the impressive scenery of the area and lies close to the beautiful Gorges de l'Aveyron.
Gaillac. The town emerged more than 1,000 years ago, growing up around a Benedictine monastery. Its more recent fame is due to the surrounding vineyards. The economic life of Gaillac has depended on wine agriculture since the Roman era.
Rambling. Enjoy anything from the short local routes (sentier de petite randonnée) that allow you discover the countryside around Cordes in a few hours, to major routes (Grande Randonnée) that can lead you right to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Explore and discover the Caussade, the pigeon lofts, the circuit of St Lucie's Chapel, and many other marked routes in the Tarn and Aveyron area.