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Learn about the Tarn in South West France
The Tarn is a department in Occitanie and, with its 381km-long river and wild black mountains (known as the Montagne Noir), is one of the most beautiful areas in south-west France. Life in the Tarn has so much to give in addition to its exquisite landscapes. The Tarn offers easy access from three main airports: Toulouse, Carcassonne and Beziers; provides many working opportunities; and offers a gargantuan range of places to see and things to do.
With a base in the Tarn endless possibilities will jostle for the attention of your leisure time. You can explore cities such as Toulouse and UNESCO World Heritage sites Albi and Carcassonne, and explore the magical countryside on your doorstep, but also, just a couple of hours away by car, are the wondrous trails, views and thermal spas of the Pyrénées and the golden sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.
Toulouse, the fourth biggest city in France, lies in the neighbouring department of Haute-Garonne and is at the hub of the European aerospace industry. With an acclaimed university and international school it is a popular choice for families, many of whom purchase character homes, apartments and townhouses in the centre. But for those who want to benefit from the city yet enjoy family life in a country home, a move into the Tarn can mean you experience the best of both worlds.
Property around the areas of Albi, Gaillac, which has gained recognition due to the popularity of its wine grown across 10,000 acres of vineyards, and Cordes sur Ciel, a medieval hilltop bastide town, has always been, and still is, popular with both French and international buyers. These three towns form what is known as south-west France’s ‘golden triangle’ (triangle d’or) due to the area’s rich history, beauty and gastronomy – local favourites include confit de canard and cassoulet.
Property in these areas ranges from classic chateaux to original stone character and country homes. At just an hour from Toulouse airport and with the A68 running directly into the city, work and travel opportunities are a given. Locations such as the pink brick medieval town of Rabastens, just 40km from Toulouse, and the bastide town of Saint-Sulpice are also attractive to those wanting easy access to an airport yet a life away from it all in the countryside.
In terms of surroundings, the mixture of vineyards, forests and rolling hillsides in this pocket of south-west France offer breathtaking views as well as wide range of amenities and activities, such as walking, horse riding and golf. There are five good golf courses to choose from in the Tarn, perhaps the most well-known are Golf d’Albi Lasbordes and Golf des Etangs de Fiac, both of which have 18 holes and are used regularly for French championships.
For true gourmands, the Tarn offers fine dining in abundance. In Castres, a vibrant town and the fourth largest in the Midi-Pyrénées, you can find Simon Scott’s Michelin-starred Bistrot des Saveurs. In Puylaurens, a medieval village set so high you can see the Pyrénées 120km away, the exclusive restaurant at the Cap de Castel consistently serves up both sensational menus and views from its traditionally-styled terrace. Finally, at the Château de la Pomarède, located in the outhouse of an 11th century Cathar castle, Michelin-star-quality regional cuisine is offered from one of the most stunning locations in the Tarn.