Holidays in the departement Haute-Garonne
PYRENEES CENTRALES-COMMINGES "The snows of the south"
© CDT Haute-Garonne
In the far reaches of the district and just a stone's throw from Spain, this is the land of the Pyrenees. At Saint-Béat, city of marble, the Garonne enters France, bordered by great, wild forests where bears have been reintroduced into their natural habitat in recent years.
You will travel through a veritable promised land for holidaying : majestic mountains, rushing creeks, high valleys, high altitude lakes and peaks 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) high.
Ideal in summer for climbing, canyoning, potholing (with the biggest underground network in France, at Henne-Morte, in the Arbas valley), paragliding, mountain biking and, of course, all kinds of hiking.
Wonderful in winter to ski the snow-covered slopes of Luchon-Superbagnères, Peyragudes, Le Mourtis or Bourg d'Oueil.
Miraculous throughout the year for the properties of its thermal springs recognized the world over and its famous resort town of Luchon the "Queen of the Pyrenees".
You will be marvelled at the Central Pyrenees, a real nature haven where the preserved countryside, flora and fauna still intact, and mountainous climate enriched by oceanic and Mediterranean influences offer up a subtle perfume of authenticity.
PYRENEAN PIEDMONT - HAUT COMMINGES "ON THE TRACKS OF SAINT-JACQUES"
© CDT Haute-Garonne
From Cazères to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, veritable spiritual and cultural beacon, classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, the Haut (high) Comminges takes us on to the trails of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.
Saint-Gaudens, historical capital, with it's collegiate and it's museum dedicated to popular arts and traditions proposes an important collection of blue ceramics from Valentine.
Native country of balneology, for many centuries it is in these regions that man has come to resource himself and profit from nature's benefits : Salies-du-Salat who, as the name indicates, holds the most mineralised waters in Europe.
The Pyrenean piedmont is a land of châteaux, abbeys and cathedrals, not forgetting the famous earthenware city : Martres-Tolosane.
GRAND COMMINGES - COTEAUX DE GASCOGNE "HILLS AND VALLEYS"
At the foot of the Pyrenean chain, this gasconne territory spiritedly proposes it's rich past and it's countryside of rare beauty.
It is here, at Aurignac that were discovered traces of human life dating from more than 30 000 years ago (aurignacienne era). And it is there, at Montmaurin, that was exhumed the most vast villa Gallo-romaine known to this day in France.
For leisure time, this region is packed with fitted-out lakes as at Boulogne-sur-Gesse and Isle-en-Dodon, a leisure park at Rieumes. Finally, it is here that the gastronomy of the South-West really makes sense with foie gras and confit de canard...
VOLVESTRE "PLAINS AND VALLEYS"
© CDT Haute-Garonne
Land of hills and valleys by excellence, the Volvestre pushes us to the fantastic, as if to underline it's originality declining from one part of the Garonne river to another, with cliffs on the upper banks and wide terraces on the lower bank.
The Volvestre, whose traditions go back, to the chivalry of the middle ages, guards jealously in the shadow of a majestic countryside offering a patrimony several thousand years old.
From Montesquieu-Volvestre to Carbonne passing by Rieux-Volvestre, this territory is sprinkled with churches, guardians of the early Christian ruins ans ancient bastides (built to measure 13th century fortified towns) with arcades, covered market-places and timber-framed houses.
PAYS TOULOUSAIN "ON THE PINK BRICK ROAD"
In the north of the district, cover this land "Pays Toulousain" where fertile plains along the Garonne river and magnificent châteaux (Launac, Merville, Laréole...) alternates with idle market villages like Aussonne or Pibrac.
Penetrate in the dense Bouconne forest where you can follow an ecologic trail 2,2 km long, ideal for a stroll in the open air. Saunter on to the banks of multiple shimmering rivers.
For childhood nostalgias, don't hesitate to make a stop at Verfeil and it's cemetery "des Petites Filles Modèles" of the Countess of Ségur.
To finish, follow the little roads scattered with brick built farms with pink roof tiles announcing the nearness of Toulouse.
Land of contrasts and of harmony, calm and pulsating, it combines good living, tradition and modernity and the assembly lines of Airbus.
© CDT Haute-Garonne
Here is Toulouse, heir to a rich patrimony. Enter the Saint-Sernin basilica, the world's largest Romanesque church. Visit Saint-Etienne cathedral, the church and the cloister of the Jacobins with it's bold vaults, the highest of the Middle Age period.
Take up the garments of the rich pastel dyestuff merchants of the Renaissance with names like Assézat, Baderon Maussac, Bernuy, Brucelles, Pins and others and see the splendid mansions that they built at that time.
Take time to discover the collections of the museums of Toulouse, such as the Augustins (endowed with a rich collection of Romanesque sculptures that is unmatched in the world), Paul Dupuy (museum of graphic and decorative arts), Georges Labit (museum of Asian and Oriental art), Saint-Raymond (museum of Antiquities of Toulouse), Les Abattoirs (exhibition hall for modern and contemporary art), La Fondation Bemberg (permanent exhibition of paintings, bronze and objets d'art).
Then, when evening comes to the city of Bel Canto, let yourself be carried away by the rhythm of the city, with the theatre, light entertainment, opera, classical music, jazz and tango (paying homage to Carlos Gardel). It is in this fertile melting pot that numerous artists of Toulouse have blossomed like Michel Plasson, Claude Nougaro and Mader, who make Toulouse shine well beyond it's walls.
FRONTONNAIS "THE GARDENS OF BACCHUS"
Through the centuries, firmly anchored in a succession of stony terraces and taking advantage of its microclimate, the Frontonnais wine has won a reputation for its wines and fruits that has stood the test of time.
Since 1975, a most original grape variety has made possible production of an AOC wine, highly appreciated by discerning palates throughout the region and beyond.
From the land of quality of life and fine foods, you will appreciate this Frontonnais region, in which shady hills, forests (Buzet, a majestic, 100-year-old forest of 450 hectares (1112 acres) with a fitness trail) and inviting river banks rub shoulders in perfect harmony. Here, you will understand why the word "fête" takes on its fullest meaning as you attend the numerous traditional events that take place throughout the year.
LAURAGAIS - CANAL DU MIDI "LAND OF PLENTY"
To the east, the Lauragais, swept by two famous winds -the Autan and the Cers-proudly unfurls vast stretches of honey-coloured wheat, golden corn and flamboyant sunflowers. This is where the tender wood -also know as "the herb of the Lauragais"- a noble plant widely used for pastel dyestuff in the 15th century was grown before indigo brought in from India came to take over from the famous isatis tinctoria. Wander the Lauragais and succumb to the charm of the lavish walled towns, veritable adornments of a wonderful movement of urban creation in the 13th and 14th centuries-clochers-murs (wall-shaped bell-towers), castles, pigeon lofts and windmills, bearing witness immutably to its rich past.
A traditional transitory territory, the Lauragais saw the Romans blaze a trail to Aquitaine, and Pierre Paul Riquet dig his the Canal du Midi (22nd site in France to be classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO). Between these two periods and across the centuries, through these green hills traipsed the Visigoths, the Franks, the Moors and the English under the Black Prince.
In this country of typical villages and countryside, visit Saint-Félix-Lauragais, Avignonet-Lauragais, Villefranche-de-Lauragais and the must-be-seen Revel where you will find Lake Saint-Ferréol, inlay artists and the famous listed marketplace listed among the 100 loveliest marketplaces in France.
Visit the website : www.cdt-haute-garonne.fr