Map of Tarn-et-Garonne, territories of Causses du Quercy Garonne
Sitting next to the departments of the Lot and the Aveyron, the land of the Causses du Quercy Garonne is full of lush countryside and friendly villages. Are you looking for adventure in places like Bruniquel and Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val ? Or are you looking for calm and quiet villages far from the tourist track (but only a few steps away from tourist sites) ? You will find what you are looking for here ! The Gorges of the Aveyron have steep cliffs and dense vegetation full of sunshine. A pleasant place to have a busy and successful family holiday.
This is a beautiful medieval village, nestled into an enormous rocky outcrop, in the heart of a breathtakingly beautiful preserved nature area! Explore this village, labelled "Plus beaux villages de France" (the most beautiful villages of France). Brunehilde Castle (Château Vieux) is built on the cliffside overlooking the Aveyron River. Prehistoric remains have been found in Bruniquel Cave at the foot of the village (47,600 year old bear bones and a female skeleton from the de Magdalenian period)...
The excavated caves cannot be visited, but some of the artefacts that have been found can be seen at the museum of the castles. The beauty of Bruniquel comes from the magnificent facades of the medieval houses that can be seen while you stroll down the picturesque alleyways. Do not miss the Maison Belaygue, the Maison Le Parlement, the Maison aux anneaux de fer and the Forges de Caussanus. In the Rue Bombe-Cul (ass-bomb) (you will understand why the street is called this after climbing all the steps !) there are many artisans. The beautifully paved narrow streets create a relaxed atmosphere. Wear comfortable shoes to explore the village. Particularly good times to visit are in the morning or at sunset, when you can fully appreciate the rich vegetationand the play of light.
Anecdote : Why are there two castles in Bruniquel ? It was because of a dispute between a father and his son in 1461. This resulted in the building of the separation wall around the Château Vieux. In the 16th century, a new castle was built on the remaining piece of land. In 1780 after further disputes, especially religious ones, the separation wall was demolished and the owner of the new complex symbolised the reunification of the area by building twin towers. In 1987, the commune bought the castles. Today, they can be visited and they sometimes host festivals, such as the Lyrical Festival of the castles.
In the heart of the Causses landscapes, with the majestic Gorges of the Aveyron, is Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. A really pleasant village with an independent library, local producers and organic shops. Art enthusiasts won’t be disappointed, as it is also an artisans' village, in which many workshops take place from the beginning of the season. There are soap works, sculptors, jewellers, ceramicists and painters; wandering round the village is like being in an open air art gallery ! The village houses also have lovely facades decorated with old stones and characteristic porches of the region... Fifteen well signed hiking paths are available around the village and its surroundings. Saint-Antonin also has a very famous nature leisure centre, with 600 rock climbing trails, potholing, canoeing, rafting... There are many cultural and fair events held during the summer.
The best tips and plans of Guide Tarn Aveyron in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val :
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, Cirque de Bone
This small fortified village is a good place for a stop and a walk... Wander towards the 11th century Saint-Pierre church, the 15th century Deanery, the fortifications and the remains of the Vieille Porte. For refreshments, go to the lovely pond where you can also see the old mill. Towards Lexos, you can see a beautiful station listed as a historic monument.
This is a small, picturesque medieval bastide. Caylus is located in the Bonnette Valley. Explore the market hall located at the Place de la Mairie, the Rue Droite and its Middle-Ages facades. The Maison aux Loups (The Wolf House), at the bottom of the street, is named thus because of the gargoyles which decorate it. The church of Saint- Jean-Baptiste is a listed historic monument. The old Royal Castle, with its square tower, curtain wall and lookout towers are interesting to see but cannot be visited as it is private property. Also check out the Pavillon Gauléjac, a 15th century building (also private). Nearby, there is a protected nature site with a pond : the wood of Labarthe.
Explore the sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Livron, its esplanade and the presbytery. Legend says that a ferocious and monstrous beast terrorised the villagers, who prayed and promised the building of a chapel to honour the knight who would kill the creature (and would thus free them...). It is a place of contemplation and spirituality. There are twelve other churches in the commune.
Parisot is a lovely, small village which could easily be visited on foot, for a break of a few hours or for a pleasant day wandering about. You can see many buildings, some are private but, nevertheless, lovely to see: the 13th century market hall with its recently refurbished wooden frame, the Château Astorguie, also just refurbished, which has a park which is sometimes used for the cultivation of rose bushes (it is private). Outside the village, the château de Cornusson can be seen (not open to visitors), facing the Seye River. Coming back to the village: explore the 14th century Saint Andéol church, admire the remains of the former fortifications and the tower, as well as the Genebrière Gate, reminders of the fortifications of the village. Since the summer of 2017, a brand new leisure activity centre has opened at Parisot Lake. It has a bathing area, games for children, a petanque ground, various aquatic and nautical activities and seasonal shows.
Château de Cornusson
Located in the heart of wooded hills and valleys, and at the border of the Lot and the Aveyron, Saint-Projet is a commune open to tourism, in addition to the agriculture on which it has always depended. There are windmills, a church, wells, ponds, hikes, a play park for children, all quiet and friendly... It is like a post card of Saint-Projet! Explore Saint-Projet castle and its history. In 1595, Queen Margot fled to the village to escape the King’s army... The room where she stayed with her lover had no doors or windows and was only discovered in 1990 by chance ! A guided tour includes 15 restored period rooms. Tours are available from May to November. A beautiful French style garden will complete this visit.
Aptly labelled “Station Verte” (green resort) Laguépie is at the confluence of the Aveyron and Viaur rivers. Between the Albigeois and the Rouergue regions, Laguépie is an ideal location for holidaymakers wanting to enjoy green holidays, in an attractive area. During summer, when it is very hot, you can bathe in the clear, fresh waters of the Viaur River, thanks to its supervised bathing area, which has free access! In Autumn, in Laguépie, the chestnut is in the spotlight. There are many chestnut trees in the surrounding area which gives rise to markets with various products such as cream, confit fruits, or poultry side dishes. The ruins of Saint-Martin de Laguépie castle which was built before the year 1000 can be seen. A local association started some restoration work on the ruins and they are illuminated at night. It can be visited with volunteers during the summer.