In the Tarn department, in the Midi-Pyrénées region, you will find the beautiful town of Cordes-sur-Ciel, mysterious and secret…
This town is a stop on the famous pilgrims’route to Santiago de Compostela. Because of its medieval character this small town attracts many visitors. Classified with the quality label of the “Grand Sites Midi-Pyrenees”. In this beautiful medieval village, you will find many monumental buildings as well as cosy terraces, restaurants and little shops of artists.
The town grew up around a military fort called “La Bastide de Cordes”. This fortress was built between 1222 and 1229 by order of Raymond VII. In this fortress people were given refuge from the troops of Simon de Montfort, who, in the name of the Catholic faith, was engaged in a crusade against the Albigensians, who were persecuted because of their faith, Catharism. Raymond VII offered them protection in the fortress. Over the centuries, Cordes-sur-Ciel experienced a period of prosperity thanks to the presence of weaving mills and tanneries. In the year 1350, however, this period came to an abrupt end. The town had to deal with the plague. Later on in history, the town had to endure even more misfortunes. By the way, until 1993 the town was known as Cordes. In that year the name was changed to Cordes-sur-Ciel. It was the poet and novelist Jeanne Ramel-Cals who in 1947 coined the name Cordes-sur-Ciel. This name evokes in a romantic way the sea of clouds that surround the hill, especially during autumn mornings, making the town seem to rise out of the clouds. In 1993, the name Cordes-sur-Ciel was officially recognised by the French state.
Today, Cordes-sur-Ciel is a popular attraction among tourists. This beautiful fortified town has an exceptional Gothic heritage. The upper town of Cordes has some stunning gothic houses, including the house of the Great Falconer, the Prunet house and the house of the Great Salesman. A walk in this medieval town is a real enchantment.
Cordes-sur-Ciel is located in the Tarn department. The Tarn is rich in history, culture and nature. Bastides and fortified villages are the trademark of this department. The villages are characterised by the square street plan within a wall, with a central square in the middle where the market is usually held. Often, the square is adorned with beautiful covered galleries where merchants used to be able to sell their wares in dry weather. Nowadays, it is usually the domain of terraces where you can enjoy the best of the Tarn in the shade. The landscape and the beautiful nature make the Tarn a varied holiday destination. You can go hiking, biking and canoeing.
The capital Albi is really worth a visit. Since July 2010, this city is on UNESCO’s world heritage list. Albi is situated on the river Tarn. The old town is really attractive and you should take your time to discover it. The old centre of this bishopric around the imposing Cathedral Sainte Cécile consists of narrow streets, alleys, shops, restaurants and characteristic houses with brown-red roof tiles. The Cathedral is a masterpiece of Southern Gothic. Inside, you will be surprised by a splendour of colours you have rarely seen! Next to the cathedral is the Palais de la Berbie, where the Toulouse-Lautrec museum is located. The gardens of la Berbie are laid out in terrace form.