Attractions in Midi-Pyrénées

The Midi-Pyrénées, a large inland region of south-west France, has been part of the new region Occitanie since 1 January 2016. It was formerly the largest region of France. Occitanie has combined both the Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon. The region stretches from the Massif Central in the north east, to the Pyrenees in the south and lower lying area is one of the most productive agricultural in France.

The Midi-Pyrénées has much to offer both in summer and winter in the mountains which rise up to 3,000 metres where it meets with the Spanish border. Skiing during the winter is very popular and hiking and walking in the summer months.

The world famous pilgrimage centre of Lourdes attracts around 6 million people every year to worship at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Toulouse is the capital of the region and other cities include: Figeac, Montauban and Tarbes.

See also: Cities in Midi-Pyrénées

Attractions

Toulouse – Capital City

Toulouse is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city sits on the Garonne river and is on the site of an ancient Roman settlement, it is the fourth-largest city in France. Toulouse is called the “La Ville Rose”

Toulouse

The Lot lies at the northern extremity of the Midi-Pyrénées region, which stretches from the confines of the Dordogne Valley to the highest peaks of the Pyrenees, forming the heart of South-West France. The region comprises eight départements created during the reorganisation of government after the Revolution, each one with a chief city or Préfecture

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Lourdes  is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénéesdepartment in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France. Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes that are reported to have occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous. At that time, the most prominent feature of the town was the fortified castle that rises up from a rocky escarpment at its centre

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During the first explorations of the chasm, speleologists were surprised to discover traces of civilisation at the bottom, such as small stone wall and fireplaces. They then discovered utensils, which are now on display at the entrance. All thought to date back to around the 14th century. During the hundred year war, the village of Padirac was destroyed by the English and all the inhabitants disappeared. Some of these are to believed to have taken refuge in the chasm

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Chief city of the Lot, Cahors lies in a meander of the river as it has for about 2000 years since the Romans founded it. That era was prosperous, although relatively few vestiges are visible (the underground car park contains a 55 m section of wall from the amphitheater). The medieval city, which timidly reformed after the upheaval of the Roman Empire’s fall, was much smaller, confined to the eastern side of the meander by ramparts, and centered on the cathedral with its two domes

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For nearly a thousand years, the narrow, lonely canyon of the Alzou has been home to a cluster of buildings clinging to the rock half way up the sheer cliffs; and from this improbable spot, a powerful call has gone out, drawing millions of the faithful to the shrine of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour. From very early times, a chapel dedicated to Our Lady existed here, looked after by a few Benedictine monks, but it was only after the discovery of the perfectly-preserved body of Saint Amadour in 1166 that a pilgrimage began to develop

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In the high Pyrenees, and within the Parc National des Pyrenees, just below the French/Spanish border, the Cirque de Gavarnie is a spectacular, natural horseshoe shaped amphitheater which boasts Europe`s tallest waterfall, at 422m (1,384 ft). Gouged out of the rocks of the Pyrenees by an ancient glacier, the 800-m (2,625-ft) base of the cirque is littered with terminal moraine and the floor of the valley carved out by the glacier and the river is strewn with larger rocks, some house sized, left high and dry as the glacier retreated

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Albi is a commune in southern France. It is the prefecture of the Tarn department. It is located on the River Tarn, c. 85 km northeast of Toulouse. Its inhabitants are called Albigensians. It was the seat of the Archbishop of Albi and is the seat of the Diocese of Albi. The episcopal city, situated in the center of the actual city, around the cathedral, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2010

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Conques is a commune in the Aveyron department in southern France.Also a well-known stopover on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, Conques is an exceptional jewel of Roman culture and heritage . The village is located at the confluence of the Dourdou and Ouche rivers. It is built on a hillside and has classic narrow Medieval streets

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Moissac is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France. It is famous world-wide mostly for the artistic heritage handed down by the ancient Saint-Pierre Abbey. According to legend, the abbey was founded by Clovis (the Frankish king), but from historical information it was founded by Saint Didier, bishop of Cahors in the middle of the 7th century

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Eighty springs made it a popular spa resort dating back as far as the middle ages, in the reign of St.Louis. In 1260, the Count of Foix, Roger 1X, built a leper hospital here to treat soldiers who had contracted leprosy in the Crusades in Palestine.There is also a church at Ax and the Abbaye Lagrasse dates back to 994, a capital of Chatellenie since the middle ages which received many privileges of the counts of Foix

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The Capitole de Toulouse is the seat of the municipal administration of the French city of Toulouse. The Capitouls (governing magistrates) of Toulouse embarked on the construction of the original building in 1190, to provide a seat for the government of a province growing in wealth and influence. The name “Capitole” referred not only to the Roman Capitol but also to the capitulum which was the chapter of the governing magistrates

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This bridge is the gateway to one of France’s oldest National Parks which is a protected area which extends for more than 65 miles. The impressive Pont d’Espagne has always been one of the most popular places to visit in the Pyrenees as it offers easy access to the high mountains. There are hiking trails, cascading waterfalls, pine forests, crystal-clear water holes and peaceful lakes.

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Cities and towns in the Midi-Pyrenees

  • Albi
  • Auch
  • Blagnac
  • Cahors
  • Castres
  • Colomiers
  • Lourdes
  • Millau
  • Montauban
  • Muret
  • Rodez
  • Tarbes
  • Toulouse – Capital of the region
  • Tournefeuille

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