Learn about the Midi-Pyrenees in southwest France

Midi Pyrénées, the Majestic Secret in southwest France

The Midi-Pyrénées is set in the heart of southwestern France. It is the largest region in the country and is made up of eight departments. From the Pyrénées to the valley of the Dordogne and from Gascony to the Gorges du Tarn, the diversity of its landscape is equalled only by the wealth of its heritage. This region is renowned for its innate sense of celebration and visitors are often surprised by its friendly spontaneity.

Midi-Pyrénées has plenty of places to visit; start with a weekend in its capital Toulouse, 'the Pink City', or in Albi to discover the artist Toulouse-Lautrec and a gourmet outing in the Gers. Visit the homeland of d'Artagnan, one of Alexandre Dumas' three musketeers as well as the Jazz in Marciac festival. You may prefer to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes or want to become acquainted with the history of the Cathars in the Ariege area. Take to the road to discover the fortified Medieval towns, enjoying the stories of historical events and typical village markets on the way… or you may just want to enjoy a quiet cruise on the Canal du Midi.

From the plateau of Aubrac to the peaks of the Pyrénées and from the infinite space of the great limestone “plateaux” to the sloping hillsides of Gascony, the wide range of landscapes in the Midi-Pyrénées is the setting for many leisure activities. You can hike, bike and ride in the Pyrénées or go rafting and canoeing on the river Lot and then go and treat yourself at one of the region's many Spas. For those looking for more of a thrill you can paraglide in Millau, go downhill skiing in La Mongie or snowshoe hiking on the plateau of Aubrac. Midi-Pyrénées honours sport – and everyone's pace, whether young or old, is taken into consideration thanks to specially adapted centres.

Remember to taste the local gourmet produce such as foie gras, cassoulet (meat and bean stew) and Roquefort cheese. The Midi-Pyrénées also boasts a very wide range of vineyards, in which some of the very best red and white wines of southwestern France are produced. Connoisseurs will appreciate the Gaillac white wine or perhaps the Madiran wine, a full-bodied red, which can be drunk young but also ages perfectly. Last but not least, Armagnac, the oldest of French brandies, which is produced in Gascony, the homeland of D'Artagnan.

Midi-Pyrénées is only 1.5 hours by plane from London and the Toulouse airport connects to many internal and international destinations. Paris is a 5 hour journey by TGV train, and as in most of France, the road network of motorways and dual carriageways is very good.

Hospitality, friendliness and 'douceur de vivre', are just a few of the attributes the Midi-Pyrénées region has to offer. If you are looking to escape from todays' modern lifestyle for an easy going and more gentle way of life in suberb and preserved surroundings, look no further than the Majestic Secret Soul of France.

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