PUYCELSI AT A GLANCE
Stay the night at… L’ancienne Auberge (doubles from €85, ancienne-auberge.com), a small and pretty eight-room hotel with a good restaurant right in the heart of Puycelsi. It has a suitably old-world feel and the views from the terrace are spectacular.
Stop for lunch at… Le Jardin des Lys (jardindeslys.xyz), a modern yet pretty restaurant offering a solid traditional menu – confit de canard, entrecôte, tartiflette and the like – and a friendly atmosphere. The three-course set menu (€19.50) is reasonably priced and the well-appointed terrace is a summer treat.
Have a coffee at… the recently refurbished Roc Café (tel: (Fr) 5 63 33 13 67). This friendly bar at the entrance to Puycelsi has been open for 20 years and you can see why. The bar puts on small evening gigs throughout the summer. Open 10am to midnight seven days a week in season.
WHERE TO VISIT
The conservatory of fruits and ancient vines lies at the foot of the village. Created in 1986 to safeguard the area’s traditional fruit trees and vines, the conservatory covers seven hectares and houses 550 varieties of apple tree, as well as pear, plum, cherry, and peach trees, and more than 100 varieties of grape vines. Phone for details of group or individual visits according to the season (tel: (Fr) 5 63 33 19 41).
The Sentier du Patrimoine is one of many fantastic walks you can discover. Well signposted and winding through the surrounding valleys and forests ( pictured right), the walk is 12 kilometres long and
takes around four hours. It offers superb views of Puycelsi from the higher ground, and allows you to follow a delightful old Roman road.
Puycelsi stages a renowned annual music festival, dedicated to choral groups and string orchestras (festivalpuycelsi.com). Run by artistic director Eric Beillevaire, it attracts musicians and music enthusiasts from all over the world to workshops and concerts. The 11th Festival Puycelsi is being held from 18-28 July.
GETTING THERE: The nearest airport is Toulouse-blagnac, a 1hr drive away. The train journey from London to Caussade via Paris takes 10hr 10min. It is then a 30min drive to Puycelsi. The village is a 9hr drive from the northern ports. Puycelsi tourist office, tel: (Fr) 5 63 33 19 25, tourisme-vignoble-bastides.com