PUYCELSI AT A GLANCE

France - - Take A Stroll -

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

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