A late winter walk in Cordes-Sur-Ciel

Cordes-sur-Ciel
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The medieval village of Cordes-sur-Ciel is a beautiful jewel of the Occitanie region. A bastide with a picturesque heritage which is pleasant to discover all year round ! The beginning of spring is now palpable : the trees start sprouting and the beautiful days last longer. Follow us for a wander in this lovely village, which, even offseason, brings stunning discoveries.

Cordes-sur-Ciel, an open history book

Since its creation in 1222, Cordes-sur-Ciel has amazed and fascinated. Its steep landscapes and its dominant position on a rocky promontory make it stand proud and admirably erect to face the world !

Rue Raimond VII, a steep street


The village is part of the “Grand Site Midi Pyrénées(Top tourist sites to be visited in the region), which means that it is recognized for its exceptional heritage and is also protected. Since 2014, the popularity of Cordes-sur-Ciel has increased thanks to being voted « Village préféré des Français » (Preferred Village of the French) in an eponymous TV programme.

Cordes-sur-Ciel is a village, which is generally liked by the children, who like playing hide and seek in the abrupt and sinuous alleys… A playground more enjoyable during springtime, as it could be a very busy and dynamic tourist site during summer. They are many artists, art galleries and artisans exhibiting their work in this very inspiring village. It is the leather trade and the local expertise of the artisans, which made the town famous in the Middle Ages. This led to the building of sumptuous villas (amongst them, the Maison du Grand Veneur), which reflects the economic importance of this town at the time.

Porte de la Jane

Porte de la Jane, small corners and crannies

Half-timbered houses


Here, it is like the time has stopped in the 13th century. Check-in at the Tourist Office, they are full of good advice and they can provide an itinerary to enjoy the interpretation boards around the whole town. We recommend you explore the village on foot, with a good pair of walking shoes (avoid high heels on the steeped paved streets). Go via the 3 beautiful doors : the Porte du Vainqueur (dating from the 12th century and also the entrance to the superior part of the village), the Porte des Ormeaux, on the west side of the village and the Porte de l’Horloge which did not have a clock at the beginning (It was added later and then named after it).

The Porte des Ormeaux


Cordes-sur-Ciel is a village with Cathar origins ; many battles took place within its walls. How many have hidden around corners of the half-timbered houses during the Cathar Crusade (1209-1229), a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in the south of France) ? How many have fallen in the « Puits de la Halle », a well of more than 100 metres (328 feet) deep ? Go to see the Gothic style Saint-Michel Church which has beautiful murals. The Jardins du Paradis (The Heaven Gardens) are also absolutely stunning : each year, they bear a new theme.

The village of Cordes-sur-Ciel from the valley, during summer


Wandering and having fun in Cordes-sur-Ciel

The Cérou River flows at the feet of the village, allowing the tanners to work the leather. A lot of water is needed for this activity, you need to wash, scratch and immerse the skins to slacken them. During your walk, you can see the Moulin de Cajarc along the river. Loop walks are available in the Cérou Valley, for hikers to enjoy.

What you must not miss in Cordes-sur-Ciel, it is the morning climb right at the top of the village (look for Pied Haut), to appreciate a superb view on the countryside with a sea of clouds rising up slowly in the autumn and in spring.


  • Are you hungry ? It is time for lunch or diner ? We recommend you to visit medieval inn "L'escuelle des Chevaliers", which also offers 5 medieval style decorated guest bedrooms (but with all the comfort;) ). Within the fortifications, it provides a feast and a rest for the explorers that you are !


An original museum to do for those who like old professions and for the food lovers : the Musée des Arts du Sucre et du Chocolat (The Sugar & Chocolate Art Museum). It is surprising all the original things that can be done with sugar ! From pelleting, spinning to coating… There is also the possibility to taste and buy products at the adjoining shop.


For the art lovers, go to the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Contemporary and Modern Art Museum), tickets are very good value. Located in a beautiful mansion full of character, this historic monument is worth the visit in itself. Different collections are exhibited in five areas, spread around a staircase. Approximately 150 pieces of art from various artistic movements are exhibited, with very famous artists such as Picasso and Christo and other less famous that you can enjoy discovering. There are also temporary exhibitions and a shop.


There is also the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Charles Portal (Charles Portal Art and History Museum), the Museum is installed in the Maison des Ormeaux. It is a museum featuring the life in Cordes-sur-Ciel and the culture in the Occitanie region. You can learn more about the buildings of the village, the life during medieval time, and all of this exhibited in seven rooms. The Museum offers sometimes workshops and special guided visits. Note that it is an associative museum, which lives thanks to the work of the volunteers of the Association de la Société des Amis du Vieux Cordes.

The Gothic facades of Cordes-sur-Ciel

The covered market of Cordes-sur-Ciel

The wishing well


See you soon for new getaways in the Tarn, Tarn-&-Garonne and the Aveyron ! Follow us on our Facebook page, to prepare your holidays.


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