Exploring the Midi-Pyrénées

June 30, 2015

Unlike many regions of France, Midi-Pyrénées is not a historic province. It is, instead, a 20th century invention, created as a result of a regionalisation process that took place in the 70s. Like the Pays de la Loire region further north, Midi-Pyrénées was established in order to create a region around a large city, in this case the city of Toulouse. Midi-Pyrénées is now the largest area in Metropolitan France.

Midi-Pyrénées is primarily a rural region, up to 40% of the population live in Toulouse, despite its size. This makes it an excellent place to escape for an outdoors holiday, with well-equipped campsites by natural wonders such as the Dordogne Valley.

Follow the waters of the Dordogne as they wind down the valley, taking you past beautiful towns and cities such as Carennac, Bretenoux with its winding streets or Saint-Céré with its opulent town centre.

The Dordogne region of France is also famous for its huge number of caves open to the public to explore. These caves, or “grottes”, are famous for their prehistoric cave paintings and also their natural rock formations, the result of thousands of years of waterflow, forming stalactites and stalagmites.  

Midi-Pyrénées is also home to Gavarnie, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is a huge limestone formation where a glacier once stood, located in the Pyrénées National Park.

Head towards the top of the Pyrénées and you’ll find Luchon, a quaint mountain spa town nestled among the highest peaks. Perched at 1207 metres, Montsegur fortress was the last stronghold of the Cathar church and remains to this day.

For a more modern trip, try Midi-Pyrénées’ famous space museum, Cité de L’espace, the only space adventure park in Europe! Cité de L’espace has an IMAX cinema, a planetarium and loads of interactive exhibits which will entertain, educate and excite the whole family! The Midi-Pyrénées has a fantastic aeronautical heritage, with the Aeroscopia museum hosting legendary aircraft such as Concorde and the Airbus factory in Toulouse.

Of course, everybody knows France is famous for its food, and Midi-Pyrénées is no different. Roquefort is especially popular here, and villages such as Gascony are famous for their foie gras markets. If you’re after the right drink to wash it all down with, visit the Lot Valley for vineyards which produce wines such as the Cahors Black Malbec.

Don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the website – there’s even the Tour de France taking place 14-18th July 2015!

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