Visiting France The blog

3 great places to see in the Midi-Pyrénées, Southwest France

January 9 2019

The Midi-Pyrénées region of Southwest France has a great wealth of history, culture, wine and food to enjoy. Here's a few places to put on your list when you get there.

  1. The perched village of Rocamadour
  2. Rocamadour

    This gem of a medieval town is set in a gorge above a tributary of the Dordogne. Hugging a cliff, the upper part of the town is filled with old churches and monastic buildings, while the winding narrow streets lined with houses and shops lie on the lower slopes. You'll need to climb a lot of steps to explore the town, but luckily there are plenty of spots to take refreshment.

  3. The medieval monastic city of Moissac
  4. The cloisters in Moissac

    Moissac is set where the Garonne and Tarn rivers meet. It's most famous for its medieval abbey of Saint-Pierre, which was a stopping point on the Camino, the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain. The abbey's cloisters feature intricately carved columns. The Camino is now enjoying a newfound popularity with people seeking a break from a hectic world. You'll find exactly that in this peaceful and beautiful town.

  5. Albi, centre of the Cathar wars
  6. Albi

    Albi was a small Roman settlement in ancient times, but it grew as a city in the Middle Ages. In the 13th century, Albi put itself on the map when it became the centre of a new Christian cult, known as the Albigensians, or the Cathars. The Pope didn't look kindly on the ascetic cult, and wiped them out with great violence. Many were burned at the stake. The Cathars got the last laugh: despite Rome's best efforts, history hasn't forgotten them, thanks especially to Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and the Tom Hanks movie made from it.

    If you can't wait to get to the Southwest of France, find yourself a holiday home there!