Quick guide to... Mon­tauban

France - - Les Nouvelles -

On the banks of the River Tarn, an hour’s drive north of Toulouse, lies Mon­tauban, one of the finest bastides in France. Founded in 1144, the for­ti­fied town is distin­guished by its ar­caded walk­ways and tall, pink-hued build­ings.

What can I see and do? Wan­der around the at­trac­tive his­toric cen­tre, the fo­cal point of which is Place Na­tionale ( main pic­ture). The late-17th­Cen­tury square is ac­cessed by gate­ways at each cor­ner, and en­closed by grand, pink­stone houses set above fine ar­cades.

A five-minute walk takes you to the white-stoned Cathé­drale Notre-dame de l’as­somp­tion ( pic­tured inset), which stands at the high­est point of the town. The baroque build­ing dates from the mid-18th Cen­tury and dis­plays a mas­ter­piece by the Mon­tauban-born artist Jean-au­gusteDo­minique In­gres. En­ti­tled Le Voeu de Louis XIII, the paint­ing de­picts the king pledg­ing France to the Vir­gin Mary.

A mu­seum ded­i­cated to the town’s most fa­mous son stands next to the 700-year-old Pont Vieux, but is closed un­til 2019 for ma­jor ren­o­va­tion work. In the mean­time, some of the neo-clas­si­cal artist’s paint­ings are on dis­play at the An­cien Col­lège, which also houses the tourist of­fice.

Where are the best places to eat? Sam­ple tra­di­tional Gas­con cui­sine served in a re­laxed set­ting at the Du Nord au Sud brasserie (mains from €15, tel: (Fr) 5 63 20 62 69). High­lights in­clude scal­lops with mush­rooms, and herb-in­fused lamb ac­com­pa­nied by mus­tard-glazed car­rots.

Another great place for re­gional cui­sine is La Cave Ô Délices (mains from €10.50, cave-o-delices.fr). Set in a vaulted cel­lar, the cosy restau­rant serves dishes such as beef fil­let steak in a wine sauce and rack of lamb served with crushed chick­peas.

For a touch of in­dul­gence, head to Au Fil de l’eau (menus from €28, au­filde­leau82.com). Dishes in­clude as­para­gus feuil­leté with cray­fish; tur­bot fil­let with a sweet potato purée and fen­nel; and pi­geon in a creamy sauce with a leek glaze.

Where should I stay? Book into the Hôtel Mer­cure Mon­tauban (dou­bles from €99, ac­corho­tels.com), which is housed in an 18th-cen­tury build­ing in the his­toric cen­tre. The 44 rooms have satel­lite TV and Wi-fi, and the restau­rant of­fers gourmet dining.

Get me there!

Toulouse-blagnac air­port is 52km south of Mon­tauban and is served by var­i­ous UK air­lines. Di­rect trains from Paris Mont­par­nasse to Mon­tauban take around 3hr 50min (tel: 0844 848 5848, voy­ages-sncf.com).

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit mon­tauban­tourisme.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.