Culture and architectural heritage.
Food & drink and lifestyle.
Villages and bastides.
The Gaillac vineyard.
the best period
Spring and Summer
From Albi the red city to the Gaillac vineyard via the dreamy hilltop bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel, soak up the peace and quiet as you experience this fabulous voyage together in a setting that brings to mind Italy's beautiful scenery and La Dolce Vita.
After a late morning arrival in Albi, a pre-lunch wander around the old town is in order as a taster for the afternoon delights. Potter around the maze of medieval lanes and stop for lunch at Le Lautrec to sample the Tarn speciality of salt cod stew: Cassoulet à la Morue?
After a hearty meal you'll be ready to tackle the UNESCO Episcopal City of Albi with a trip to Palais de la Berbie, home to the Toulouse Lautrec Museum, followed by Albi Cathedral, a Southern French masterpiece of gothic art and the biggest brick monument in the world.
End the day on a high with dinner at La Table du Sommelier where you can indulge in a first class and diverse Gaillac and Languedoc wine menu: the sommeliers themselves visit the wineries to unearth rare gems. Highlight: the entire wine menu is available to take away.
Your accommodation for the night will be just as dazzling as we recommend a stay at Alchimy, a cosy Art Deco hotel in the heart of Albi.
A morning walk around the indoor market is a must if you want to pick up some Tarn specialities: melsat (cured meat made from offal, "melsat" is the Occitan word for "spleen") bougnettes (sweet crackers), Lacaune cured meats and cheese, millas (dried salted liver) and poumpet (lemon puff) for pudding. Just the names make your mouth water don't they?
After that, lose yourself in the old town and stroll from St Salvy Cloister to the River Tarn over the brand new footbridge 30m above the water: feast your eyes on unrivalled views of the old town.
Have a picnic on the Tarn's banks for lunch as you gaze at the gabares (flat-bottomed boats) taking holidaymakers on a mini cruise (something to consider if you have the time).
The Tarn has another big surprise to round off your lunch: the hilltop village of Cordes sur Ciel which was voted France's favourite village in 2014 and Remi, Nobody's Boy was shot here in 2019.
Make a beeline for Cave Saint Michel in the village centre. The manager is on first name terms with all the region's winemakers. There's a huge choice and the prices are very affordable too. The manager will help you choose the right wine for you. Keep an eye out for shops selling the village speciality: delicious Croquants de Cordes (light almond biscuits).
On the way to Château de Salettes, the 4* hotel and spa deep in the Gaillac vineyard where you'll have dinner and spend the night, make a pitstop at Domaine de Montels for a Gaillac wine tasting.
Did you know?
The short story is that Château de Salettes was one of many properties in Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's family. It's now been turned into a lovely hotel with spacious and sleek rooms in a château that rises from a sea of Gaillac designation vines in a magical setting. Food-wise, the château restaurant is one of the best in the Tarn.
Spend the morning exploring Château de Mayragues, an organic winery that's been growing biodynamic vines for over 20 years, then head for the bastide of Castelnau de Montmiral for a walk around the village and lunch. Today is all about wine so make your way to Senouillac, still deep in the Gaillac vineyard, to get your room keys at La Vigneronne B&B ("la vigneronne" means winemaker").
But before you have dinner and a good night's sleep here, join your host for:
Pick up your picnic hamper from the B&B and explore Gaillac on the Les Hauts de Gaillac footpath to see another side to the vineyard. (The walk lasts 5 hours but it can be cut short).
With dinner fast approaching, our experts recommend something a bit different with Cuisines sans Dépendances: have a meal at top chef Yannick Delpech's own house.
How does it work? The chef hosts dinner at home and serves you and your fellow diners a single menu with their choice of food and wine pairings. You are informed of the address 1 hour before dinner.
We've chosen the Delga B&B for your overnight stay in a brick mansion typical of the region with a pool and cosy patio.
After an organic breakfast at the B&B, end your epicurean adventure with a trip to the Maison des Vins de Gaillac. No break would be complete without a spot of wine shopping after all.