Monday October 5, 2020
Arrive, check into your hotel and meet for dinner in Albi at a restaurant recommend by the Michelin guide which is conveniently located in our hotel. We’ll drink superb local wines and toast to our arrival in France in this jewel box space with skylights and excellent modern French food.
Optional: Jet lag rejuvenation massage
Tuesday October 6, 2020
Discover the charming ancient city of Albi dating back to the Bronze age and situated on the river Tarn. We’ll walk across its bridges, some of which are nearly 1000 years old and then tour Albi’s 13th century cathedral.
We’ll lunch at a neo-bistro in town. Then in the afternoon we’ll tour the Tolouse Lautrec Museum and its stunning formal gardens.
Time back at your hotel for rest and relaxation.
Dinner tonight at an Auberge near the old bridge specializing in lighter creative French food.
Wednesday October 7, 2020
Head out for an adventure to historic Najac, situated on a bend on the river Tarn and considered one of the most beautiful villages in France with its charming half-timbered houses. Here we’ll explore the Najac castle from 1253 and the lovely picturesque village at its feet.
We’ll stop on the way back for lunch and then a wander through the Bastide town of Cordes sur Ciel built in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse. Time after lunch for shopping in this picture perfect ancient town.
Dinner in Albi at a Modern French wine bar.
Thursday October 8, 2020
Today we check out of our hotels in Albi and we’ll head off towards the east, arriving in the Aveyron department. We’ll be staying for the next several nights at the exquisite Chateau LaBro just outside of the city of Rodez.
Today we’ll visit Salles le Source and its commanding waterfall as well as the idyllic village of Belcastel and its 1000 year old Castle. We will have a chance to enjoy a lovely lunch at the Michelin recognized Hotel de Vieux Pont.
Time for rest and discovery at our hotel hotel after check-in. Tonight we’ll have a relaxing dinner tonight at the Chateau with drinks first in their lovely bar while we watch the sunset.
Friday October 9, 2020
Thanks to our location near Rodez, we’ll explore the capital of the region to visit its newest and most important museum. Discover the work of the area’s most famous artist Pierre Soulages in a superbly designed building dedicated to his work. Here we’ll have a private guided visit with the founder of the board of this organisation.
After lunch at the celebrated Cafe Bras located within the Soulages museum we’ll have time to hit the small but charming gift shop. In the afternoon we’ll take time to relax by the pool at our exceptional Chateau hotel.
For our evening meal, we’ll head back into town to a superb and inviting Lebanese restaurant for a change of pace.
Saturday October 10, 2020
Today we’ll head off to Estaing to visit the Chateau at the center of this historic village. This Chateau has been in the family of the former President of France, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing for 400 years.
aThen we’ll carry on down the road to Espalion, the charming village which is a stop on the road to Compostelle, the 1000 year old pilgrimage to Spain. Espalion is situated on the Lot river and boasts an 11th century bridge. Here’ll we’ll have a simple homemade lunch.
Time back at the Chateau Hotel to rest and relax.
Tonight after a short tour of the Ferme Mejanneserre, we’ll feast on whole pig, duck or whatever they choose to roast for us over their spit in their gigantic fireplace. This is one of my favourite restaurants in the world mainly because they serve just one special house-made meal each day. They make or grow everything on the menu and they even throw the pottery on which your meal sits. Inevitably you’ll be able to try the region’s speciality, Aligot, which is mashed potatoes whipped together with comet cheese. Leave it to the French to find a way to make mashed even more delectible. This is hyperlocal organic French food at its very best – down to the digestifs they make in house.
Sunday October 11, 2020
In the morning we’ll visit the new pottery museum in Le Fel and meet the couple who started this extraordinary place.
Then we’ll visit Conques which has been a holy site since the 7th century. We’ll have lunch here on a lovely terrace and then we’ll have the pleasure of experiencing a visit to see the unique stained glass windows designed by Pierre Soulages for the 11th century abbey.
Then we’ll head down to Bozouls, a geological site similar to a mini-Grand Canyon. We’ll have time this afternoon for a nature hike from the bottom of the canyon up to the top via a floral covered footpath frequented by donkeys and llama. This is where my sister has had a home for the past 30 years. We’ll open her 350 year old stone house and enjoy a homemade meal here taking our aperitifs while listening to the rushing river as we sit at the former grist-mill outside.
Monday October 12th, 2020
Breakfast and then depart
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