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Land of the Crusades

The Tarn - timeless medieval landscapes
 
Discover timeless ancient villages, in evocative rolling landscapes and a rich history & heritage with flexible, self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking (and your luggage transported) to delightful guesthouses along the way.
Land of the Crusades. 7 nights
Land of the Crusades. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Tarn

The countryside north of the Tarn Valley hides a timeless landscape of unspoiled medieval bastides, or fortified villages, largely dating from the turbulent 12th century when the English sought to dominate this land, and the Pope encouraged the Albigensian Crusades to rid this region of Cathar heretics. Today, all is calm and you can now enjoy a leisurely exploration of the tiny, arcaded squares and crumbling fortifications before walking along inviting footpaths to discover one of France’s most alluring corners.
Combine leisurely walking through landscapes reminiscent of Tuscany, a spot of history, chambres d’hôtes (guesthouses) of great character and flavoursome regional cuisine, and you have all the ingredients for a delightful walking holiday. The route takes you through the rolling countryside just north of one of France’s greatest rivers – the Tarn – ending at the remarkable village of Cordes-sur-Ciel. Along the way, you stay in some of the typical medieval fortified hill-top villages that make this region so special.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on almost any day of the week, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 9 11 14 16 20 24 27 27 24 19 13 10
    mm 77 79 74 66 61 46 22 43 65 104 101 78
  • Arrival in Bruniquel
    Night 1: at Chambres d'Hôtes Cornelia (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.

     
  • Choice of circular walks from Bruniquel: 11.5km or 19km
    We suggest two circular routes that explore the surrounding countryside. Afterwards, or instead, you can explore this delightful village of timber-framed houses and narrow cobbled streets which boasts not one, but two, medieval castles, and is perched dramatically atop a rocky plateau overlooking the river.

    Circular walk via Montricoux: 19km, 6.5hrs
    This longer option takes you west along the river before heading north into rural woodland. Visit the medieval village of Montricoux and take in the lovely vistas back towards Bruniquel before making your way back to the hotel.

    Circular walk to the north: 11.5km, 4hrs
    An easy circuit into the forest north-west of Bruniquel; enjoy fine views back over the gorge to the hill-top village.
    Bruniquel
  • Bruniquel to Puycelsi: 12.5km, 5.5hrs
    Leaving Bruniquel behind, follow the meandering Vère valley through delightfully varied woodland to yet another idyllic medieval village, Puycelsi (also spelled Puycelci), where you stay two nights at Chez Delphine.
    Looking towards Puycelsi
  • Circular walk from Puycelsi: 11.5km, 5hrs
    Standing on a rocky plateau overlooking the River Vère and surrounded by ancient woodland, Puycelsi is a delightful village of timber-framed medieval houses sitting safely behind imposing ramparts. Our suggested route takes you on a gentle stroll through orchards surrounding the village and the Grésigne forest before returning beside the Audoulou stream.
    Near Puycelsi
  • Puycelsi to Donnazac: 19km, 6.5hrs
    From Puycelsi, a short transfer takes you to the bastide of Castelnau-de-Montmiral; take time to explore the arcaded village square and atmospheric cobbled alleyways before setting off on today's walk. You follow country lanes and quiet paths through the hills of Quercy Blanc, past fields of cereals and the rolling Gaillac vineyards, the open countryside providing panoramic views throughout the day. En route, you pass the bastide of Cahuzac, a perfect place to stop for lunch, before continuing to the hamlet of Donnazac. If you arrive early, spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool at Les Vents Bleus, where you stay one night.
    Castelnau-de-Montmiral
  • Donnazac to Cordes-sur-Ciel: 15km, 5hrs
    Today you head north, passing more neat vineyards and crossing open hills, interspersed with beautiful old fortified manor houses and dovecotes, so typical of the area. You finish with a dramatic arrival at the medieval town of Cordes-sur-Ciel, probably the most supreme example of a medieval bastide, which commands wonderful views over the Cérou Valley. Here, you spend two nights at La Maison Bakéa.
    Approaching Cordes
  • Circular walk from Cordes-sur-Ciel: 14km, 5hrs; shorter option 6km, 2hrs
    Whether you choose the long or the short option, your target is the picturesque village of Souel to the south of Cordes.

    On your return, take time to explore Cordes-sur-Ciel's lovely church, medieval merchants' houses and many artists' studios, and delve into the history of this fascinating village.

     
    Cordes-sur-Ciel
 

Accommodation

You stay in a variety of lovely guesthouses – see our page about chambres d’hôtes for more information.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
Currency converter

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  • 7 nights: 02 April - 30 June 2019, 01 July - 12 July 2019, 20 August - 31 August 2019 & 01 September - 12 October 2019

    Start varies according to season | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 April - 23 May £995 £370
    24 May - 5 July £1045 £380
    20 August - 30 September £1045 £380
    1 - 5 October £995 £370
    3rd & 4th person discount -£85
    Single traveller supplement £85

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    7 nights: 02 April - 30 June 2019, 01 July - 12 July 2019, 20 August - 31 August 2019 & 01 September - 12 October 2019

    Start varies according to season | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 April - 23 May £1295 £370
    24 May - 5 July £1360 £380
    20 August - 30 September £1360 £380
    1 - 5 October £1295 £370
    3rd & 4th person discount -£155
    Single traveller supplement £155

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    Included travel from the UK: UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Montauban (TGV/Intercité), approx. duration 7h20 plus 0h35 taxi transfer. Home, Montebaun–Paris (TGV/Intercité), Paris-UK (Eurostar), approx. duration 8h25 plus 1h15 taxi transfer.

    If you book your holiday less than 3 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the sames services at a supplement.

    7 nights: 02 April - 30 June 2019, 01 July - 12 July 2019, 20 August - 31 August 2019 & 01 September - 12 October 2019

    Start varies according to season | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    2 April - 23 May £1045 £370
    24 May - 5 July £1095 £380
    20 August - 30 September £1095 £380
    1 - 5 October £1045 £370
    3rd & 4th person discount -£135
    Single traveller supplement £135

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    We also include a transfer back to the first hotel at the end of your holiday to collect your car.

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outbound travel 5-7 Apr & 19-21 Apr, and for inbound travel 21-22 Apr 2019. A supplement of £45 per car per single journey applies outbound on Fridays & Saturdays 24-25 May & 12 Jul-17 Aug 2019 inclusive, and inbound on Saturdays & Sundays 1-2 Jun & 19 Jul-2 Sep 2019 inclusive.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Cornelia
    Deluxe: 02 Apr - 12 Jul 2019 £19
    Deluxe: 20 Aug - 13 Oct 2019 £19
    Suite: 02 Apr - 12 Jul 2019 £45
    Suite: 20 Aug - 13 Oct 2019 £45

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Les Vents Bleus (with dinner) Double room Single room
    02 Apr - 12 Jul 2019 £98 £158
    20 Aug - 13 Oct 2019 £98 £158
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Toulouse

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast City - Toulouse (with touchdown in Birmingham) Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Toulouse Flybe 
    Birmingham - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Toulouse easyJet,  Flybe 
    Outward route Airline
    Durham Tees Valley - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Amsterdam) Air France 
    Edinburgh - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Toulouse British Airways 
    Heathrow - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Toulouse easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Toulouse Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Toulouse Flybe 
    Manchester - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Toulouse Flybe 
    Southampton - Toulouse (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Toulouse

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Toulouse to Gaillac (1h), taxi Gaillac to hotel (0h30) £29 1630
    direct taxi Toulouse airport to guesthouse (1h10) £63 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Gaillac SNCF (0h50), rail Gaillacto Toulouse (0h50) £19 1300
    direct taxi hotel to Toulouse airport (1h30) £67 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 5 dinners
    5 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfer on day 4
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/18/2019 5:23:52 PM