Adventure Travel in the Tarn

Adventure Travel in the Tarn: Bastides and Medieval Towns near Albi

Let’s look at the Adventure Travel sector and see what’s on offer when it comes to exploring French Bastides.  If you are in the Tarn region, there is a tour operator in the Pyrenees, La Balaguère, that organises a 7 day walking tour around medieval towns and bastides starting in Albi.  It promises to take you off the beaten track and all the way back to the early 13th century when the first bastides were founded.  On this tour, you will visit Cordes-sur-Ciel and Castelnau-de-Montmiral, both founded in 1222 by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, grandson of Henry II.  More tour details available from La Balaguère.

Adventure Travel in the Tarn

Alternatively, use the maps here to discover over twenty more bastides in the Tarn region.  While tourist offices can provide information about each bastide in their local area, there is no Route des Bastides as such, like the well-signposted Route des Vins you find for exploring wine estates.  Bastide Heritage Trail aims to rectify this.

Discover the Ambitious Building Programme of the Middle Ages

After all, Bastide building in the Middle Ages was the phenomenon of its time.  Its 700 year influence on the construction and shaping of over 300 rural communities in South West France certainly deserves wider recognition by heritage organisations such as UNESCO.

It’s the perfect way to spend the summer, touring the bastides of South West France, either by road or on foot.  Following in the footsteps of the medieval bastide builders and mapping your own route to connect up the bastides, many of which have breathtaking views.

Trail building is a passion, it helps us to slow down our fast-paced modern lives, bring us closer to the people and places that we visit, understand where we come from, find where we are going.  Sometimes, it feels like we’re weaving a great, big tapestry of places that we can share online with the whole world.  Beautiful enough for you to want to visit!

For more information on trail building, visit World Trails Network.  For applications for world heritage status, visit UNESCO.  

Date for your diaries: Next World Trails Conference, 2- 5 September 2020, Nepal.  Postponed because of Covid-19.