Tarn offers a beautiful living environment and is the perfect location for an activity holiday. Nature has kindly provided us with glorious hills and valleys offering an abundance of hiking & mountain biking trails. The rivers and lakes offer canoeing and swimming and water sports. The mountain roads are perfect for cyclists & offer plenty of challenges for the more serious cyclist. But apart from the range of activities it's a beautiful place to spend a relaxing holiday and just enjoy the scenery, the lovely places to visit the renowned regional foods & Gaillac wines.
Some of the great places to visit from our area;
The beautiful city of Albi with it's incredible cathedral / Castres with it's lovely old quarter & the famous Goya museum / the beautiful market town of Mazamet / The amazing fortified city of Carcassonne / Chateau Lastours, a cathar legend / The Sidobre national park / The vineyards of Gaillac, some of the oldest recorded in France.
Tarn is a beautiful department offering a change of landscape in every direction. The slope of the department is from east to west, and its general character is mountainous or hilly.
Tarn's three principal ranges lying to the south-east are: the Mountains of Lacaune, the Sidobre, and the Montagne Noire, belonging to the Cevennes. The highest point of the department is the Pic de Montalet in the Lacaune mountains (about 4150 ft.); several other summits are not much short of this.
The granite strewn plateaux of the Sidobre, from 1600 to 2000 ft high, separate the valley of the River Agout from that of its western tributary, the River Thore. The Montagne Noire, on the southern border of the department, derives its name from the forests on its northern slope, and some of its peaks are from 3000 to 3500 ft high. The limestone and sandstone foot-hills are clothed with vines and fruit trees, and are broken by deep alluvial valleys of particular fertility.
At equal distance between two great regional capitals Toulouse and Montpellier, less than an hour by road from the Mediterranean, the Parc Naturel Regional Du Haut-Languedoc takes its richness from the great diversity of its landscapes, flora and fauna.
Wild boar and deer freely inhabit the forests. Eagles and birds of prey dominate the skys. Forests of Oak, Chestnut and Pine flourish, housing an amazing diversity of plants and wild life. The sound of water is always present and there are many beautiful lakes and rivers, gorges and valleys to explore. Beautiful walking and mountain biking trails criss-cross every part of the Parc.
The Sidobre, land of granite, is unique in Europe due to its fascinating rocks and has an international reputation as a producer of granite.
It represents one of the worlds biggest concentrations of granite. From the 17th century, granite was used for tombstones. In the 19th century the first granite mining appeared. In 1950, electricity and machines revolutionized working uses and the extraction of granite. The 'Arche de la Defense' in Paris is covered with Sidobre granite and the 'Champs-Elysees' are paved with it.
300 million years ago, molten magma produced from rocks in fusion was trapped several kilometers down under a high range of mountains (Hercynian Range), of which today there remains only the Massif Central, the Montagne Noire and the Sidobre. The mountains having eroded.
15 million years later the magma cooled to form a crystalline rock composed of 3 minerals: mica, quarta and feldspath. To simplify matters, the Sidobre is a block of granite measuring 10km in length, 10km in width and 10km in depth. The visible surface being fissured by erosion while in depth the rock is still a solid mass.
Runoff from rainfall, drainage and infiltration creates a perpetual flow of water through the fissures eroding the rock by breaking off sand-like minerals and carving the boulders into extraordinary shapes.
Far from the beaten path, the Monts de Lacaune, represent the far projection of the Central Massif towards the Southwest, stretching to the limit of the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates at an average altitude of 500m, and rising to its highest point "Pic de Montalet" at 1260m (4150f).
The region is famous for its rich produce, from the therapeautic mineral water of Mont Roucous, the cheeses and the famous "Jambon de Lacaune", all of which you can find on the weekly markets and in the local shops and restaurants of the Lacaune region.
The "Brebis" (breed of sheep originating from this area) milk is used for the production of the famous Roquefort cheese. The region has a long history and there is lots to visit, including the menhir statues dating back 4000 years (the most important concentration of menhir statues in europe).
Lacaune is an attractive nature resort only a few minutes away from the Lac du Laouzas. At 885 meters the Col de la Bassine offers a panoramic view. To the south, the Angles plateau, covered by ferns in the moors, wooded by coniferous forests or beech groves, is a heaven of peace and freshness. To travel to Lacaune from our home we pass through Brassac, a small pleasant town where the outlet shops of its textile industry provide a showcase of local products.
The old Gothic bridge and the Castle towers overlooking the Agout river give an impression of harmony. Another tour is the scenic D-140, snaking through the Berlats forests and leading us to the Gijou valley. Many stray villages lie on its course. Viane, then Lacaze: a village dominated by the Bourbon-Malanze castle remains. From a small stone wall bordering the road, we see the crystalline water, a fisherman's dream where numerous trout prosper. In a few kilometers, the steeple of Notre-Dame du Tournadous, beautiful church of the Second Empire, signals the proximity of Ganoubre. "The Maison de la Vallee" merits a detour for its exhibits, animations and regional products. And for the more courageous of spirit the botanic path beginning at 200 meters from there is a must! Don't forget to observe the mill.