Midi-Pyrénées Region

General Info

Regional Map
Conseil Régional
Tourism: Comité Régional du Tourisme
Capital: Toulouse
Departments: Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes- Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn, and Tarn-et-Garonne
Arrondissements: 22, Cantons: 293, Communes: 3,020
Population: 2,803,934 (2008 est.)
France Midi-Pyrenees Departments Map

Overview

Midi-Pyrénées Rocamadour
Midi-Pyrénées, in the Southwest part of France, is the largest region in the country and has eight departments. It is bordered to the south by the Pyrénées mountains which stretch roughly 260 miles (435 km) between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediteranean Sea forming a boundary between France and Spain. The region is mostly rural and has a vast range of natural sites, but has a strong industrial presence through its aeronautics and space industries, especially around Toulouse.
Much of this region was ruled by the Counts of Toulouse during the Middle Ages and this area became part of France after the Counts were defeated by the French King in the 13th-century and dismantled the county of Toulouse.

Midi-Pyrénées Departmental Information

Notable Towns and Sights in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

Albi (Tarn) A large town accentuated by the Cathedrale Sainte Cécile photo which was built of red brick in 1282 and is considered to be a masterpiece of Southern Gothic-style architecture. It's unusually lavish interior includes a fresco by Italian artists in 1509 covering the entire vaulted ceiling. Under the balcony is a large painting depicting the Last Judgement. The Toulouse-Lautrec museum is here in the 13th-century Palais de la Berbie (arch-bishop's palace) displays the largest existing collection of the artist's paintings as well as antiquities and applied arts. france Midi-Pyrénées saint cecile cathedral
Auch (Gers) is an ancient town through which the river Gers flows. It is known for the Renaissance Cathédrale Saint-Marie with its beautiful carved stalls and stained-glass windows. Also here is a 14th-century prison, La Tour d'Armagnac, and a statue of the character d'Artagnan who was based on a real person, Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan, Comte d'Artagnan (circ 1611) whom served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard and died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War. He was written about by Alexandre Dumas based on a fictionalized account of his life. France Midi-Pyrénées Auch cathedral
Belcastel (Aveyron) is a medieval village with cobbled streets, lauze-roofed (stone-tiled) houses, and a small population of about 250. Most of the village and the restored castle, Château de Belcastel, are situated on the steep north bank of the Aveyron river (photo). Notable here is the 15th-century church and tomb on the south side of the river, with a bridge of the same era connecting the banks (photo). A ruined fort can also be found about a kilometre west of the village on the south bank of the river. It is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and the village regularly hosts watercolour competitions and art exhibitions during the summer. Tourism France Midi-Pyrénées Auch cathedral
Brousse-le-Château (Aveyron) is home to the 9th-century Rouergue château and is located on a rocky outcrop between the Tarn and Alrance rivers about 36 miles (60 km) from both Rodez and Millau. It was a stopping point during the 12th and 13th-centuries for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella. Nearby is the 15th-century Eglise de St. Cirice (photo). Brousse-le-Château is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. France Midi-Pyrénées Auch cathedral
Cahors (Tarn) is 2,000 years-old and is the chief town of Quercy, and is surrounded on three sides by the river Lot. This small commercial center is famous for truffles, its Saturday morning market, and the dark, heady Cahors wine which has been produced since Roman times and exported via Bordeaux. The city's landmark, Valentré Bridge (photo) from 1308 is one of the finest and best-preserved medieval bridges in Europe. Also notable here and in the Old Town is the Cathédrale de Saint-Étienne (photo) from 1119 with many fine medieval details and 14th-century frescoes depicting the stoning of Saint Étienne. Also in the catheral quarter is ornate 16th-century Maison de Roaldès where Henri IV (Henri of Navarre) stayed after capturing Cahors. France Midi-Pyrénées Cahors Valentre bridge
Canal du Midi runs 149 miles (240 km) from the city of Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean. It was built under the reign of King Louis the XIVth and was supervised by the engineer and tax collector Pierre-Paul de Riquet over a fourteen year period. France Midi-Pyrénées Canal du Midi
Castres (Tarn) has been a center for textiles since the 14th-century and is now one home to one of France's largest pharmaceutical companies. Notable here is the Musée Goya from 1840 with the largest collection of Spanish art in France and the 17th-century church of Saint Benoît, once a cathedral. The Romanesque tower beside the church is the only survival of the old Benedictine abbey. The Hôtel de Ville here was designed by famous architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, architect of Versailles, and nearby are the 17th-century formal gardens designed by Le Nôtre, landscape architect for the gardens at Versaille and Vaux-le-Vicomte. France Midi-Pyrénées Castres
Condom (Gers) is the site of two castles, the Château de Mothes and the Château de Pouypardin, both begun in the 13th-century. A total of 19 sites in Condom are listed as monuments historiques by the French Ministry of Culture, including the cathderal, churches and houses. It is also a town on the Via Podiensis, one of the three major French arms of the pilgrimage route called the Way of St. James. France Midi-Pyrénées Condom Cathedral
Conques (Aveyron) was a pilgrimage stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Sainte Foy, a Romanesque-style abbey church, has stained glass windows created by Soulages and a Romanesque Tympanum above the door depicting the Last Judgement. The Abbey is the center of the village in all respects and its Roman relics and sculptures are mostly intact unlike many other medieval churches in France. This village, one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, is an international location for medieval art, and has annual summer festivities dedicated to medieval art and music in July and August. France Midi-Pyrénées Conques Sainte Foy
Cordes-sur-Ciel (Tarn) was built in 1222 and was the first bastide town. Bastides were fortified towns with a central market and straight streets which formed a grid layout. This development allowed easier tax collection from the local people for the King of France. France Midi-Pyrénées Cordes-sur-Ciel

Figeac (Lot) is a medieval village on the river Célé. It's sights include the 11th-century Saint Sauveur abbey church and beautiful river views. France Midi-Pyrénées Figeac
Foix (Ariège) The main attraction here is the Chateau de Foix which was built in the 10th-century as a stronghold for the Counts that ruled the Bearn area. The castle on a crag above the town has three remaining crenellated towers. France Midi-Pyrénées Foix
Gavarnie-Gèdre (Hautes-Pyrénées) is near the Spanish border and is known for the Cirque de Gavarnie which is surrounded by sheer rock walls rising to over 9,800 feet (3000m) with many waterfalls. The Grande Cascade is the highest waterfall in Europe and originates from Spain. France Midi-Pyrénées Gavarnie-Gèdre
Lisle-sur-Tarn (Tarn) is a 13th-century fortified town between Toulouse and Albi. It is located in the heart of the Gaillac and is the principal wine-producing community in the Tarn. France Midi-Pyrénées Lisle-sur-Tarn
Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées) is the most popular Christian pilgrimage destination in this region. It is famous for the story of the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a 14 year-old local girl named Bernadette Soubirous in the nearby Grotte de Massabielle (River Gave) on the 11th of February 1858. Millions of believers visit Lourdes annually. Pope Benedict will be going to Lourdes to celebrate the 150th anniversary Of the Apparitions, from 13 September to 15 September of 2008. France Midi-Pyrénées Lourdes
Luchon (Haute-Garonne) is located at the base of the highest summits of the Pyrénées mountains. Along with the neighboring town of Superbagneres, Luchon is proximate to summits higher than 9,842 feet (3000m). This is an exceptional area for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain-climbinmg, and fishing, as well as visiting historical sights. Mairie-Luchon France Midi-Pyrénées Luchon
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