The Tarn Region

Views in the early morning of the Tarn SW France

Situated in the heart of south west France, the Tarn is the prettiest of the eight departments in the Midi-Pyrénées. Albi - the capital of the Tarn - was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list on 31 July 2010.  The episcopal city counts 51 302 habitants (2007),  is a small bustling city with good shops, several excellent restaurants and a great café culture. Albi is also known for its fine buildings and easy access to Toulouse. Albi Tourist Office and Tourist Office Toulouse

Venturing just north of Albi you will find a landscape "where Tuscany meets the Cotswolds". The many picturesque medieval Bastide villages are set against a backdrop of rolling hills, vineyards and fields of sunflowers. The traditional use of warm, honey-coloured stone accentuates the beautiful architectural features of the properties throughout the region.  Tarn Tourisme

At the centre of this little pocket of south west France is a "triangle d'or" (golden triangle) encompassing the region around Albi, the market town of Gaillac and the charming hilltop bastide village of Cordes-sur-Ciel.
Gaillac Tourist Office and Cordes sur Ciel



Map of the Region


The proximity of Toulouse guarantees easy access to this area. In particular, flights from most European countries arrive daily at Toulouse Blagnac International airport. Low cost flights also arrive to this area at the regional airports of Carcassonne, Rodez and Castres.

Toulouse has good TGV rail links to the rest of France. Driving from the Channel ports takes a comfortable nine hours.

We are only two hours from the Pyrenean ski resorts of France, Andorra and Spain.

For those wishing to visit the Mediterranean, we are approximately a two-hour drive away.

Accommodation contact addresses and websites


  • B&B in and around Cordes-sur-Ciel

    • N° 11 - 11 Rue du Toupi, 81170 Cordes sur Ciel - tel. 00 33 (0) 6 17 78 08 22

    • La Maison au Puits - 20 rue Gargaridès, 81170 Cordes-sur-Ciel - tel: +33 (0) 5 63 60 23 05

    • Le Cayrols - 81170 Livers Cazelles - tel: +33 (0) 5 63 56 22 46

  • A selection of Gites locally that are known to us and that we would highly recommend

    • Le Sivadal - A 19th century French Farmhouse, beautifully restored, sleeps 10.

    • Can We Stay? - Can we stay is a website dedicated to top quality holiday accommodation in the heart of the Tarn in South West France.

    • La Petite Maison a Margot - Exquisite, spacious, stone cottage for two with pool to rent for your house-hunting trip in a beautiful setting, near St-Antonin-Noble-Val.

    • Clos Géor Cottage - Well equipped gite with pool, situated in a peaceful location on edge of village with bakeries and shops within walking distance

    • Gites du Roc - In an area of outstanding beauty "Le Roc" enjoys the most spectacular views and our guests return again and again.

    • Le Jouvenal - Set amongst vines and sunflowers, the detached 'Barn' is tranquil, private and secluded, with a large swimming pool and floral meadow. Guests comments available on our website.

    • Tarn Owls - Nestled in the stunning Vere valley close to Castelnau de Montmiral our beautiful 600 year-old farmhouse sits among some of the loveliest countryside, towns and villages, and close to some of the most inspiring gorges and valleys in France. There is an adjacent vineyard, sunflowers in abundance and the Gresigne Forest about 1 km.

    • Farmhouses and Villas - We have an exclusive portfolio of unique holiday homes in the Tarn area of South West France.

    • Domaine du Garissou - Tél. :05 63 56 27 14

A few facts and figures

The Midi-Pyrénées is quoted as being the region in France where people live longest and living conditions are the best. It also boasts an average of 2000 hours of sunshine per year.

Spring comes early and is reminiscent of a British summer. Between early April and late June, the average temperatures are between 16°C and 24°C. July and August can see a range of temperatures from 13°C-15°C in the morning and up to 26°C-30°C at lunchtime, cooling down to pleasant temperatures in the evening. Autumn is often a time of Indian summers - and the cooler weather usually doesn't arrive until well after October.


Sports & Leisure

If you like the outdoors and sports in general the Tarn is a winner. There are several good golf courses, including our personal favourite at Chateau Lasbordes in Albi. This is a beautiful course on the river Tarn with views of the spectacular Sainte-Cécile cathedral in Albi.

Horse riding, mountain biking and kayaking are all available, without forgetting that this area is the renowned for its rugby prowess and home to the best team in Europe - in the eyes of Stade Toulouse, at least! This part of France is also recognised as the centre of endurance riding in Europe. And walkers are well-catered for with many wonderful Grandes Randonnées. We are only 2 hours away from the ski slopes of the Pyrenees.


    • Horizon Spéléo Canyon - Amiel – 81140 Penne - contact Thierry Mialhe Tel: 05 63 31 41 76 cell phone; 06 88 55 93 48

Food and wines of the region

Delicious food and wine can be enjoyed throughout the region. There are 22 Appellation Contrôleé vineyards in the Gaillac area alone. Gaillac was the first inland vineyard planted by the Romans after they colonised the Mediterranean coast in about 125 BC. Today, Gaillac is one of the most innovative wine-growing areas of France. The Gaillac vignerons are celebrated for their red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. The white wines are generally dry and fruity and the red wines are rich and full-bodied.Gaillac wines

The choice of gastronomic specialities is considerable. Locally produced meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables are always available in the farmers' markets and supermarkets. In restaurants you are likely to be offered foie gras, confit-de-canard and, of course, Cassoulet. There are also numerous varieties of cheese, including the delicious, regionally produced Roquefort.

We hope that this review has inspired you to come and visit us here in the Tarn. Information on our Getting here page will be of assistance in the planning of your trip.