Spotlight onhaute- Garonne Sweet dreams
A peaceful night’s sleep awaits in these stunning French bedrooms
Crossed by the upper course of the River Garonne – hence its name – Haute-garonne offers a wonderfully diverse landscape incorporating the lively city of Toulouse and a chunk of the Pyrénées mountain range bordering Spain. The department is dotted with pleasant spa towns and buzzing ski resorts and is great for walkers who’ll find plenty of hiking routes in the mountains in the warmer months to explore too.
Capital: Toulouse Toulouse is known as la Ville Rose because of its pink brick architecture. The centre is framed by the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Garonne river. The impressive St-sernin cathedral is considered to be one of the finest Romanesque buildings in the world. It’s a vibrant city with a large student population and a strong aviation industry which attracts international workers.
Highlights The southern part of Haute-garonne is situated in the Pyrénées, whose winter ski resorts offer a quieter and cheaper alternative to those of the Alps. The mountains are also popular in summer with hikers who are attracted to the GR10 footpath which follows the Pyrénées from
coast to coast and crosses the department. The spa town of Bagnères-de-luchon at the foot of the Pyrénées is celebrated for its thermal springs and has become a fashionable resort. The Canal du Midi also passes through the department and its banks are a lovely place to cycle, under the shade of centenary plane trees.
Local specialities Meat eaters will already know the tasty saucisse de Toulouse and cassoulet, of course. Duck is also cooked and enjoyed in various forms and there are several cheeses to sample too. On the sweet side, the violette de Toulouse is unmissable, in its original crystallised flower form or in the sugary sweets.
Access • By air: UK flights to Toulouse • By train: Eurostar to Paris, TGV to Toulouse • By road: Toulouse is 963km from Calais
Climate (Toulouse) • Average annual temperature: 9.1°/18.5° • Average annual rainfall: 638 mm • Average annual sunshine hours: 2,031
Average house price €236,000
I just love the beamed ceiling in this loft bedroom; it’s really unique. There are a total of six bedrooms and five bathrooms in this Quercy farmhouse and converted barn, set in a tranquil location with stunning views. The property has been thoughtfully renovated, offering an ample kitchen-breakfast room and huge lounge with wood panelling. Outside there are stone terraces, a swimming pool and mature garden. The bastide village of Beauville is just five minutes away, while Bergerac and Toulouse airports are a 75-minute drive. Ref: 444106 Karen Tait, Editor I love how huge this bedroom is! There’s space for a little sofa against the wall, and those steps lead to a big ensuite bathroom – I’d add a big mirror and wardobe I think. The beams are stunning too and it gets plenty of light. There are five other bedrooms in the house, as well as a one-bedroom cottage. Two swimming pools and lots of land in a lovely countryside setting 20 minutes from Bergerac make this pretty stone property a perfect B&B and gîte business. Ref: 492379 Sophie Gardner-roberts, Staff Writer
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