Midi-Pyrénées is the French region with the most villages that qualify for this official label.
They include, among others, Estaing, Belcastel and La Couvertoirade in Aveyron; Lauzerte and Auvillar in Tarn et Garonne; Camon and Saint Lizier in Ariège ; Lautrec, Puycelci and Castelnau de Montmiral in Tarn ; Montréal du Gers and Sarrant in Gers ; Carennac, Autoire and Loubressac in Lot ; and Saint Félix de Lauragais in Haute Garonne …
All of them have the splendid character of a medieval settlement with a château and watch towers, ramparts and abbeys, churches decorated with Romanesque capitals, little winding back streets, communal bread ovens and fountains, bridges paved with decorative pebble stones, ancient houses adorned with flowers and built of the local stone: red or ochre sandstone, hazelnut-coloured schist, or white or golden limestone depending on the different regions.
Some of these villages are bastides typical of Southwest France, such as Sauveterre de Rouergue (Aveyron) centred on a fine square lined with couverts, Castelnau de Montmiral (Tarn) founded in the 13th century by the Count of Toulouse, and not forgetting Montréal du Gers (Gers), which stands guard over the treasures of Séviac Gallo-Roman villa.
Along the way, what could be nicer than to tick off a succession of the curiosities you come across here and there : the 'snail-shell' pattern of the streets of Sarrant (Gers), the perfectly round grain market in Auvillar (Tarn et Garonne), the delightful Romanesque chapel containing the Tourist Office in Puycelci (Tarn), and so many other discoveries and wonderful memories to be made in these villages?
- 'Les plus beaux villages de France' certification