Midi-Pyrénées

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Notable Towns and Sights in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

Marciac (Gers) is a bastide town of 1200 inhabitants, has existed since 1298, and is best known for its major jazz festival every August from the 1st to the the 5th. There are also smaller events in autumn, winter and spring. The festival was founded in 1978 and integrates jazz with "les Territoires du Jazz". This exhibition, which is unique in all of Europe, offers a journey through the complete history of jazz. Fabuleux-Marciac France Midi-Pyrénées Marciac Jazz Festival
Millau Viaduct (Tarn) is a bridge which has set world records for height and its masts reach 1,115 feet (340 meters) and are higher than the Eiffel Tower. The viaduct is 1.5 miles (2,460 m) long, and provides 2 driving lanes in each direction, stretching over the Tarn Valley touching down at only 9 points. It climbs a gentle slope of 3 percent from north to south, and has a slight curve on-plan. photo 1  |  photo 2. France Midi-Pyrénées Millau Viaduct
Pamiers (Ariége) is famous for its three bell towers and also as the birthplace of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), the famous French organist, pianist, teacher, and composer. It lies in an ancient alluvial plain of the Ariege River in the area called La Basse Ariege, noted for its rich fertile soil ideal for agriculture. The main town square of Pamiers, Place de la Republique, is paved in red marble and every week, there are three large open-air farmers' markets. Nearby is the old Tour of the Cordeliars and the large Church of Notre-Dame-Du-Camp. Ville-Pamiers France Midi-Pyrénées Pamiers
Pic du Midi de Bagorre (Hautes-Pyrénées) is a national site as well as an astronomical observatory and research center. From 1.8 miles (2,877 m) above sea level, one can see the entire Pyrénées mountain chain, the plains of southern France, and the first foothills of the Massif Central. The summit views extend for nearly 180 miles (289 km). France Midi-Pyrénées Pic du Midi
Rocamadour (Lot) is an astonishingly beautiful village named for Saint Amadour, whose body was discovered here in 1166. Clinging effortlessly to the cliffs at various levels 490 feet above the river, the village has seven sanctuaries. During the 12th and 13th-centuries, thousands of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella stopped at Rocamadour to climb the 216 steps that lead to the chapel of Notre Dame on their knees. photo 1  |  photo 2 France Midi-Pyrénées Rocamadour
Rodez (Aveyron) is a medieval city and the largest commercial center in the region. It is divided into two areas with the shop-lined Place du Bourg and the Place de la Cité near the cathedral. The main attraction here is the enormous 13th-century Cathédrale Notre-Dame (photo) with a fortress-like façde and stunning ornate belltower. Other sights include the Church of Saint-Amans from the 12th-century and rebuilt in 1758 with an interior in Baroque style. In the choir are 6th-century tapestries representing the miracles of Saint Amand. The interior houses also has a 15th century Pietà and a statue of the Trinity from 16th-century. France Midi-Pyrénées Rodez Cathedral Notre Dame
Roquefort-sur-Soulzon (Aveyron) is home to the famous Roquefort cheese which is made from ewe's milk. The legend has it that the cheese was discovered when a young shepherd, eating his lunch of curds, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. Leaving his meal in a nearby cave, he ran to meet her and when he failed to reach her, he returned to find his moldy lunch and ate it. According to European law, only cheeses aged in the Cambalou caves may bear the name Roquefort. France Midi-Pyrénées Roquefort Cheese
Saint Cirq-Lapopie (Lot Valley) is considered by many to be the most beautiful village in France. Like Rocamadour, it is magnificently perched 260 feet (79 m) high on a rocky escarpment over the river Lot. The ancient village streets have maintained many of the old stone and wood façade houses with brown-tiled roofs and mullioned windows which date back to the 15th-16th centuries. The timeless charm of this village bares witness to the craft activities such as tanning and metal work that created the village's wealth. Many of the houses have been renovated by local artists and artisans and are used as studios. France Midi-Pyrénées Saint Cirq-Lapopie
Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges (Haute-Garonne) is a medieval village located at the extreme southern edge of France. Here there are Roman ruins from the 12th-century, the Cathédrale de Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges from 1550, and the Romanesque basilica St Just Valcabrère. France Midi-Pyrénées Saint Bertrand-de-Comminges
Saint Pé-de-Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées) is between Pau and Lourdes. It has interesting and extensive grottes (caves) which may be toured using a railway or barges. Betharram Grottos France Midi-Pyrénées Grottes de Betharram
Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées) is the second largest metropolitan area of Midi-Pyrénées and lies just north of the pilgrimage town of Lourdes. The mid 19th-century Jardin Massey (photo) is a park in the center of town and covers 1.8 acres (11 hectares) and is populated by peacocks and ducks. The place de Verdun was renovated in 1992 and is decorated with fountains by Jean Marc Llorca whom also created the fountains at the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Also notable is La Cathédrale de la Sède which has a bell-tower, apse, and transept from the 12th-13th centuries and the rest was added to the 18th-century. Tarbes is also home to the beautiful Haras Nationaux (National Stud) stables which were created in 1806 by Napoleon. Mairie France Midi-Pyrénées Tarbes Jardin Massey
Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) is a vibrant, colorful city that offers something for everyone and lies along the Garonne river. It is called la Ville Rose or the pink city due to the reddish hue imparted by the brick on its many buildings. Toulouse was built by wealthy Counts in Southwestern France who had nearly as much power as the King of France. In the 1400's Toulouse became the center for the production of the best blue dyes which came from the pastel plant. There are at least thirty pinkish mansions in the city built by the families which profited from the blue dye industry. These dyes were being used increasingly in stained-glass as well as for the clothing of the nobility and their surroundings. Saint Sernin Basilica, built in the 11-12th centuries, is considered the greatest example of Romanesque architecture in Europe and is distinguished by its octagonal bell-tower and combined brick and stone construction (photo). The organ in the Basilique was built by Cavaille-Coll in 1888 and is considered to be one of the most important organs in France (photo). Saint Sernin was originally built to protect the relics of the saints and as as a pilgrimage stop on the way to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Also in Toulouse is the 13th-century (photo) l'église des Jacobins (Convent) which was the first rectangular-shaped church in France and is unique in its innovative use of 22 ribbed vaults (photo). The city has many significant museums and other sights including the Airbus factory and the Cité de l'Espace space park. Muséum de Toulouse   Toulouse Organ Festival France Midi-Pyrénées Toulouse Saint Sernin Basilica

France Midi-Pyrénées Toulouse Capitole Plce
Villefranche-de-Rouergue (Aveyron) is a walled bastide town with 13,000 inhabitants. It's history goes back thousands of years to the cave dwellings from prehistoric times. The town has castles, Romanesque and Gothic churches, monasteries and abbeys. France Midi-Pyrénées Grottes de Betharram

Les Plus Beaux Villages in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

Natural Parks in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

Regional

PNR des Causses du Quercy
PNR du Haut-Languedoc
PNR des Grands Causses

National

Parc National Cevennes France map
Parc national des Cévennes
Languedoc Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, and Rhône-Alpes
Parc National des Pyrénées France map
Parc national des Pyrénées
Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées
Complete List of Natural Parks in France

Additional Resources for the Midi-Pyrénées Region

Regional Specialties and Features

Armagnac is France's oldest brandy and historic records indicate that it was being distilled as early as 1411 in the Gascony region of Midi-Pyrénées. It is the only place in the world where the spirit is authentically produced. Today, Armagnac production is subject to the controls of the Appellation d'Origine Controlée regulations (AOC). It is distilled from grapes like Cognac, but retains more of the flavor of wine due to a slightly different distillation process.
Bastides began to appear in southwestern France between the 13th-century. The characteristic features of the grid-pattern layout of the streets crossing at right angles and their centrally situated markets are typical of what are often referred to as New-Medieval towns. They are representative of the Midi-Pyrenees, which has several hundred of them.
Black truffles, also known as black diamonds, are one of the rarest and most expensive foods in the world. The fragrant fungus grows around the roots of oak trees and is routed out by specially trained pigs and dogs. The flavor of truffles is typically realized when sliced and slipped under the skin of a chicken before roasting, or shaved into the center of an omelet, or may be used to enhance dozens of other dishes.
Cahors, claimed to be France's oldest wine-producing region, has recently begun to vary blends and experiment with production methods. The once rustic deep-red wines are today full-bodied, flavorful, and a perfect match for the region's rich foods. The region also produces dry and semi-sweet white, sparkling, and rosé wines.
Cassoulet is a famous and satisfying meat and white bean stew that uses confits (duck, goose, or pork salted and cooked slowly) as it's basis and is a specialty of Toulouse and this region.
Cathar relics may be found in the Ariège department in great numbers as well as in the Aude Department gorges and the Corbières area.
Foie gras is a prized product of Midi-Pyrénées. This goose or duck liver from Gascony is unmatched in its unusually rich flavor and unique texture.

Average Monthly Temperatures in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

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