In the beautiful village of Sorèzeat the foot of the Black Mountain, visit the abbey school founded in the 8th century: it's famous for its boarding school. Follow the guide through the old classrooms, dormitories and staterooms in the prestigious school.
Experience the imaginary world of elaborate tapestries at the Dom Robert Museum in the abbey itself. The humanist monk's fascinating masterpiecesappear alongside other artists who brought Aubusson tapestry heritage into the 20th century.
Classical music concerts are held all year round in Sorèze. In July, the abbey's grounds and best rooms set the scene for the Music of Lights Festival.
6km from Sorèze… the fantastic Saint-Ferréol Lake. You have Pierre-Paul Riquet to thank for being able to sail and swim in the lake nowadays. In 1672, the Canal du Midi's great inventordecided to create this huge lake-dam to supply water to the canal. Get to grips with this extraordinary structure at the Canal du Midi's Museum (the "Réservoir") and Parks by the lake. Take a stroll through the elegant English country gardens. Cool off at the bottom of the manmade waterfalls.
People from Toulouse love this Pavillon Bleu-approved leisure site as "Saint-Fé Lake" is packed with things to do: paddleboarding, windsurfing, catamaran, tree-top adventure, electric bike hire and more. Lifeguard surveillance in summer.
Visit the Wood and Marquetry Museum in Revel4km from Saint-Ferréol Lake. The bastide was founded in 1342 by Philippe de Valois and has been the homeland for artistic furniture since the time of Louis XIV. Admire the inlaid furniture, driftwood sculptures and endless array of woodwork art.
Don't miss Revel market on Saturday mornings: listed in the top 100 markets in France, it is held in the 14th century hall which is the biggest in France (1500m2)!
WORTH THE DETOUR
Walk or cycle from Revel on the green path along the Rigole de la Plaine: the channel takes water from St-Ferréol Lake to the Canal du Midi. A lovely shaded trailthat's 15km long.
Halfway between Toulouse and Carcassonne, the Seuil de Naurouze is the highest point of the Canal du Midi: this is where the ridgeline for the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea lies. Go on the leafy plane tree alley leading to the site. Information panels tell you how this mountain pass (189m) helps the Canal du Midi to function. Continue along the towpath or go up to the obelisk built in tribute to the designer of the structure listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
Visit the Château de Bonrepos-Riquet, 20km north-east of Toulouse and soak up the lives of Pierre-Paul Riquet and his descendants. You'll be lucky enough to see the hydraulic structures in the vast romantic groundsthat convinced Colbert that this crazy project could work. An exciting guided tourwhere you can soak up castle life in Riquet's time. Explore the gardens, the beautiful orangery teeming with fruit trees and the freezer room containing ice from the Black Mountain
HOW TO GET THERE
There are 5km between Sorèze, Revel and Saint-Ferréol which are all around 60km south west of Toulouse.
By car: exit at Villefranche-de-Lauragais on the A61 onto the D622 then the D1 or exit at Castelnaudary on the A61 then the D624, D622 and D1. 60km from Toulouse, 45km from Carcassonne, 200km from Montpellier.
By train: Toulouse station then take a Keolis coach to Revel. Castelnaudary (20km) and Castres (25km) train stations.
By plane: from Toulouse (60km) and Carcassonne (45km) Airports.
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