Based on the edge of a tiny hilltop village, enjoy a range of walks from a 200 year old farmhouse and barn during this guided walking holiday in the rolling Tarn countryside.
The walks use mainly the old chemins and farm tracks through woods and vineyards with magnificent views to the south, east and west, as far as the Pyrenees.
Take in the smell of the wild flowers that line the tracks as you’ll walk to 12th and 13th century hilltop villages, eat wonderful locally sourced food and drink wine from the vineyards surrounding your accommodation.
Accommodation in the Tarn region
You will stay in a converted old barn adjoining a farmhouse that provides luxury accommodation as a base for your walking holiday. Both double and twin bedrooms with ensuite facilities and twin and double rooms with a shared bathroom (with separate double shower), are available. There is a large lounge with the original beams and separate dining room and also a covered eating area outside. There is also an additional ensuite bedroom in the farmhouse with a private entrance so your hosts can accommodate parties of up to 10 people.
Outside there is a 10 x 5 swimming pool to relax in during the hotter months, lots of small patios, grassed areas and a large sundeck. The house has views south to the hilltop village of Castelnau de Montmiral across vineyards.
Continental breakfast is served each morning – you decide where to eat, inside or outside – and there’s a 4 course meal each evening with local wine. As the weather is usually warm from March until October, there will be lots of opportunities for BBQs and there is a great selection of local cheese and meats which are used in the meals. Lunch consists of a packed lunch or snack from a local bar or restaurant on the walk.
Walking in the Tarn region
The walks that are available can be tailored to suit your needs from a gentle stroll of 5 kms (taking in the local vineyards) to longer circuits of up to 30kms. Ancient chemins (old droving roads) and farm tracks will be used wherever possible but even when you are on tarmac, you’ll be lucky to see more than a couple of cars on the quiet country roads.
While a lot of the walking is on plateaux with magnificent views, there are a fair number of slopes to go up and down as you’ll cross the valleys and go up to the villages. However, you’ll never be in a rush so you can take your time as you go.
There are numerous short walks around the house from 20 minutes to an hour which can be covered at any time on your own.
Tarn vineyards & villages example walks
These are a few typical example walks you can enjoy during the Tarn vineyards & villages walking holiday.
Walk 1 – Canpagnac and Manoirde L’Emmeille (5 kms). You’ll leave the house and use the chemins to cross two small valleys and climb through the vineyards to Campagnac where you can try the full range of Gaillac wines in the cave at Manoir de L’Emmeille. You’ll then come back through the tiny village of Beaudinencq to Itzac. This walk can be made into a 10km walk by going to the village of St Beauzile before returning.
Walk 2 – Cordes Sur Ciel circuit (25 kms). This walk will take you to “the city in the sky”. Cordes is a 13th Century hilltop bastide rising from the surrounding plain. Built by the Cathares, the winding road to the top of the city goes through 3 fortified gates. Lunch is taken in a restaurant with tables in the covered market. Take in the magnificent view on all sides before you’ll head back a different route to Itzac.
Walk 3 – Vaourand the Commanderie de Templiers(15kms). You’ll follow part of the “Grisinhola” trail on a circuit to the ancient village of Vaour standing on the edge of the 3,800 hectare Gresigne forest. Above the village you’ll visit the ruins of an ancient Templar headquarters and then return home along the Grisinhola.
Walk 4 – Castelnau de Montmiral (30kms). On this route you’ll wander the lanes and vineyards before climbing to another magnificent hilltop bastide at Castelnau de Montmiral. It has a picturesque arcaded square where you’ll have lunch at the Auberge de l’Arcade. The route back to Itzac takes you through Le Verdier to Itzac.
Walk 5 – Tonnac (10kms). You’ll leave Itzac and follow the chemin to the little village of Tonnac. On the way there are superb views south to the black mountains and east where Cordes stands on its rock. You’ll return through the scrub oaks trees of the limestone causse before dropping back to Itzac.
Walk 6 – Alos (10kms). Today you’ll go along the narrow chemins to Alos where, unusually for this area, the church is hidden in the woods below the village rather than standing proud in the middle of the village. The route back to Itzac takes you down through the oak woods and then back up to the house.
Longer Walks. For the more adventurous it is also possible to take the car a short distance and then go on some of the local “Grand Randonee” walks – part of the large network of longer walks through the rolling countryside.
Other activities. If you don’t want to walk each day, your hosts can also organise visits to the many local Gaillac vineyards. Your hosts can also take you to visit the clifftop chateau at Penne, the brick cathedral of St Cecile in Albi, canoe down the craggy limestone gorge of the Averyon or go on a days trekking with you.
Dates and Availability
July and August are usually too hot for walking so the guided walks are available from March to June and September and October. Your hosts are happy to have groups doing different lengths of walk during the same week, splitting the group in two. You can contact the holiday provider with the length of walk you want to do and any other activities and they will put together a tailored itinerary for your group.
Holidays are Saturday to Saturday normally and the costs start from £450 per person per week for 7 nights based on 2 people sharing and include all meals and transport to/from Toulouse if required. In March, April and October the walking holiday can start and finish on days of your choice (subject to availability).
Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form below, for more information.