IN THE AREA

France - - Take A Stroll -

The area sur­round­ing Puycelsi gives vis­i­tors plenty of scope for cul­tural and ac­tive pur­suits. Spend some time, for ex­am­ple, at the Base de Loisirs Vère Grésigne (ba­sev­ere­gre­signe.com). Just ten kilo­me­tres from Puycelsi, this out­door leisure and ac­tiv­ity cen­tre spreads over 20 hectares and of­fers you the chance to hire ca­noes to use on the lake, to play ten­nis or mini-golf, and even to go fishing. The park is open from April to Au­gust and there is su­per­vised bathing in the sum­mer.

Ly­ing 20 kilo­me­tres to the south-east of Puycelsi, the his­toric town of Gail­lac is fa­mous for the wines that bear its name. Visit one of the many pro­duc­ers in the area, but don’t miss the im­pres­sive Ab­baye Saint-michel, which hugs the high bank of the River Tarn.

The Château du Cayla near Andil­lac is a coun­try manor 20 kilo­me­tres east of Puycelsi, set in the mid­dle of a lovely for­est of oak trees. It has been trans­formed into a mu­seum (musee-cayla.tarn.fr) ded­i­cated to a for­mer in­hab­i­tant, the early 19th-cen­tury writer Mau­rice de Guérin, and his equally lit­er­ary sis­ter Eugénie. Through a col­lec­tion of more than 2,500 archival ob­jects, you get a thor­ough in­sight into Tarn life 200 years ago.

Drive just over 25 kilo­me­tres south of Puycelsi and you will come to the town of Rabas­tens, where the Église Notre-dame du Bourg con­tains some mag­nif­i­cent me­dieval mu­rals. It is lit­tle won­der that Unesco has classed it as one of 78 French struc­tures of sig­nif­i­cance to the Chris­tian faith along the pil­grims’ route to San­ti­ago de Com­postela in north-west Spain.

If you are feel­ing par­tic­u­larly ad­ven­tur­ous, take to the skies for a bird’s-eye view of the area’s awe­some scenery on a one-hour bal­loon ride with At­mo­sph’air (at­mo­sphair-mont­golfieres.fr). With de­par­tures from lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Gail­lac, Cordes-sur-ciel, Lautrec and Lavaur, you will have an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence.

ABOVE: The town of Gail­lac on the River Tarn;

RIGHT: The in­te­rior of Église Notre-dame du Bourg in Rabas­tens

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