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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


Independent walking holiday

  • Historic Villages & Valleys of the Tarn

Dates for 2018
  • Starts everyday of week (subject to availability) during April, May, June, September, October
Price (with own car)
  • £745 (single supplement £275)
  • €820 (single supplement €300)
  • Grade moderate guided walking Tarn & Aveyron France
  • 8 days: 6 days two centre-based, self-guided walking at low altitude. Average: length 4-6 hrs, altitude gain 350m. 
  • Wonderful guest house in quiet rural location in South West France. Great food and wine
  • Selection of spectacular and varied walks through beautifully varied countryside in the Tarn and Aveyron, including hidden gorges, sweeping plateaux and vine covered valleys
  • Stunning medieval hilltop towns such as Cordes sur Ciel, plus a host of historic and cultural delights
  • The Tarn and Aveyron is a haven for a variety of wildlife
Accommodation and Meals
  • You’ll stay in two beautiful guest houses conveniently located for your walks. Chambre d'hote style in historic properties offering an authentic and very comfortable stay. The welcome is warm and generous and the local cuisine and wine is first rate.

What's included
  1. Pick up from Gaillac train station, 7 night's accommodation full board (except one lunch and two evening meals), detailed walking notes and maps, several transfers to walks
What's not included
  1. Travel to Gaillac, France, lunches on the day of arrival and departure, plus one lunch and two evening meals. transfers not included in above, any entrance fees or excursions
Book this Holiday e mail contact fot High Point Holidays telephone number
  1. See also our Tour of Tarn's Medieval Bastides
  2. Return to home page

Historic Villages & Valleys of the Tarn

Hundreds of medieval towns known as Bastides are scattered throughout the Midi-Pyrenees.  From high on rocky hilltops, villages such as Puycelsi, Penne and Cordes have kept watch over the surrounding countryside for centuries.  Our centre based self-guided walking holiday in the Tarn and Aveyron will allow you to explore several of these towns as well as discover the valleys that cut through the countryside giving it a distinctive character of deep rocky gorges, steep wooded valleys and high sunny plateaux. 

Your independent walking holiday in south west France includes a mixture of moderate walks allowing ocassional walkers of average fitness to enjoy the ever changing views and landscapes of the Tarn and to see the beautiful array of wildlife and flowers. The area is particularly well known for its beautiful spring orchids thanks to the limestone and chalky nature of the land. The Autumn brings the deer to the forest at Gresigne as well as wild boar and a fantastic array of birds of prey.

Please note that the choice of walks will be dependent on whether you have your own vehicule. If you arrive by train, you will be provided with transfers on 3 days to access your walks. Below is an example of the walks that are possible and they are a mixture of those in the programme with and without a car.

Discover more about the Tarn & Aveyron & the villages of Cordes sur Ciel

The walks

The days on this self-guided walking holiday are mixed, allowing walkers of moderate ability to enjoy the ever changing views and landscapes and see the beautiful array of wildlife and flowers. Some moderate ascents up and down gorges and hills amounting to about 350m. Most walks are well within the grade. The walks can be varied according to your interests. Paths are generally good, although they can be rough and stony in places. A number of transfers to the start of walks are included in the holiday price. The choice of walks is greater if you have your own transport, but even without a car you can increase the variety of walks by using one or two additional taxis if you wish.

Day 1: Arrival

Welcome, pick-up from Gaillac train station and transfer to guest house or arrive by car.

Cordes sur Ciel

Transfer to Cordes sur Ciel. Explore the beautiful bastides of Cordes sur Ciel, widely considered to be the finest fortified town in France. Climb into the old town to explore the narrow winding streets and see the beautiful gothic and renaissance buildings, which are incredibly well preserved. Afterwards walk towards Andillac, the château at Cayla and Vieux following the GR trail across undulating countryside.  18km, 360m climb

The forest of Gresigne

Transfer to Puycelsi. Your walk today starts from Puycelsi, a hilltop town which has maintained a strategic highpoint from prehistoric times,  there are both bronze age and Roman remains in the area. The walk drops into the forest of Gresigne which is the largest forest in the Tarn and the greatest oak forest in the South of France. Our walk passes through a conservation orchard, a Roman road and the hunting forests of King François I. 19km, 350m climb

The hills of Gaillac

A circular tour from your guest house which explores the picturesque plateaux and hills of the Gaillac region passing through a mixed landscape of fields, vines and forest. You'll also visit the chapelle de Gradille. Return via the wonderful historic hill-top village of Castelnau de Montmiral. 14 - 24km.

Vere Valley & Puycelsi

After a transfer to the historic village of Larroque at the base of impressive cliffs you'll climb onto wooded hills and make your way to the delightful bastide village of Puycelsi. After exploring the village you'll make your way through a series of ridges and valleys with great views.

The Monks route

Transfer to Cahuzac. Follow the ancient Route of the Monks from Cahuzac across the chalky plateau, home to much of the Gaillac wine region. Follow the GR trail back to Castelnau-de-Montmiral. This beautiful village sits on top of a hill with a central square surrounded by wonderful timber-framed historic houses. Your trail then returns to your guest house. 16kms, 270m climb

Vines & Chateaux

This is a circular tour from Cahuzac and follows a local trail through the vineyards and sunflower fields on the undulating hills and ridges of the Gaillac region. You'll pass through a number of small hamlets as well as the chateau at Mauriac which you have the chance to visit.17km, +460m

St Antonin Noble Val

Visit St Antonin Noble Val nestled at the opening of the Aveyron Gorge, this beautiful medieval town was the backdrop to the film ‘Charlotte Gray`. This walk is best done on Sunday so that you can visit the Sunday market before walking up the escarpment and exploring the most beautiful part of Aveyron gorge.  12kms,  300m climb

Bruniquel & Penne

A circular trail which climbs to reach the pretty ridge-top village of Penne with its ruined castle. Afterwards you follow the gorge to reach your next bastide – Bruniquel. Like many of the villages you’ll explore, this is also classed as one of the prettiest villages in France. Explore its steep streets lined with historic dwellings. Return by a different trail. 22km, +370m Shorter options of this walk are possible.

Najac to Laguepie

Take the train north to Najac from Gaillac or Lagueoie. Climb to its wonderful historic centre which is spread out along the top of a ridge, topped by its castle. Afterwards, follow a section of St James’ Way over hills and then along the Aveyron valley to reach Laguepie.  15kms +320m

St Antonin Noble Val

Visit St Antonin Noble Val nestled at the opening of the Aveyron Gorge, this beautiful medieval town was the backdrop to the film ‘Charlotte Gray`. This walk is best done on Sunday so that you can visit the Sunday market before walking up the escarpment and exploring the most beautiful part of Aveyron gorge.  12kms,  300m climb

Circuit de Causses

This is a circular tour from the wonderful hill-top village of Cordes-sur-Ciel which was voted as France's favourite village in 2014. Your trail explores the limestone plateaux to the south of the bastide with great views of Cordes. 15km, +350m


Rest day for those who want one and a chance to visit the beautiful city of Albi on the banks of the river Tarn.  The city is home to Saint Cecile Cathedral, the largest brick built building in the world.  There is also the chance to visit the Toulouse Lautrec museum which houses over 1000 of his works or just stroll by the river and relax in one of the numerous cafés and bars.

Tour from Penne

A delightful trail circular which heads from the historic bastide of Penne out through pasture and a tiny Kinghts Templar village with its historic church before climbing onto the edge of the plateau that surrounds the village. Great views towards Penne and of the surrounding hills. Afterwards descend and follow the valley before climbing back into Penne. 12km, +350m


Transfer to Gaillac train station after breakfast.

Contact us about this self-guided walking holiday


Location Tarn south west France guided walking

Tarn and Aveyron guided walking

Tarn and Aveyron France guided walking

tarn aveyron sw France guided walking holiday

market tarn midi pyrenees France guided walking holiday


Further information about the walks in Tarn and Aveyron will be sent to you prior to your holiday.


Accommodation & Meals

You’ll stay in two guest houses conveniently located for your walks. Our first choice of accommodation is presented below. They are in historic buildings and offer an authentic and very comfortable stay in a B&B style guest house. The welcome is warm and generous and the local cuisine and wine is first rate.

Below are examples of the type of accommodation used.

Les Vents Bleus B&B Beautiful old vineyard property, restored to create a guest house full of charm with swimming pool, warm welcome and lovely food   Accommodation les vents bleus Donnazac Tarn south France
Les Miquels B&B Les Miquels is a chambre d'hôte style guest house, located in a small 18th century hamlet just outside the beautiful bastide village of Castelnau-de-Montmiral. The hamlet which was restored by Laurence and Dominique in 2004 has a number of typical buildings from the region including a dovecote, well and bread oven. Large grounds and swimming pool    
Travel Options

Travel Options

Transfer between Gaillac train station and your guest house in the Tarn included in your holiday price.

By Train

Eurostar, TGV and then TER French trains allow you to get to Gaillac train station from where you'll be given a transfer to your guest house in the Tarn near Castlenau. Changes between the Eurostar and TGV are at Lille or Paris. TGV's run from Paris Austerlitz to Toulouse from where you can change for a train to Gaillac, heading towards Rodez or Albi. For some trains you can also change at Montauban rather than Toulouse and then take a train or bus (run by the train company) to Gaillac.

Flight Options

There are flights from French and UK airports to Toulouse. Operators from UK airports include Easyjet from Bristol and Gatwick, Jet2.com from Leeds - Bradford and Manchester, and British Airways from London Heathrow. From the airport, take a shuttle bus to Toulouse train station and from there, a local train to Gaillac. Shuttle bus is found at door B3 on the ground floor and the journey costs about €5.50.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets

Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.

Self Drive from UK

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries & DFDS seaways. Crossings are also provided by train with Eurotunnel.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to your guest house takes about 10-11 hours (excluding long breaks). You can leave your car at your guest house for the duration of your walking holiday.





Cordes sur ciel guided walking holiday in Tarn Aveyron France
Poppy fields on guided walking holiday Tarn Aveyron France
Gorge guided walking holiday in Tarn and Aveyron south west France
Historic town and villages on guided walking holiday Tarn Aveyron in midi pyrenees south France
Walkers on self guided walking holiday in Tarn Aveyron guided walking south France Europe
accommodation Tarn Aveyron south France