Toulouse, Gers & Vallée du Tarn

Gastronomy and good living are the passions underpinning this sun-kissed corner of southwestern France.

At the heart of the region's farms and flower-sprinkled meadows is Toulouse, a city of pink stone invigorated by galleries and nightlife aplenty. Beyond here, stocky bastides (fortified towns), like hilltop Cordes-sur-Ciel and seductive Lectoure, snooze between vineyards and rolling pastures. Slicing through is the formidable Canal du Midi, a 17th-century feat of engineering now plied by idling houseboaters. Meanwhile tables groan under hefty dishes like cassoulet and confit duck, with splashes of complex Gaillac wine.

Once you’ve enjoyed your fill of Toulouse’s festivals, music and cutting-edge art, it’s time to slow down. Head west to the Gers département, famous for its lush countryside and Armagnac liqueur, or east to magnificent Albi, which remains largely underrated.

If at all possible, lose track of time: this delightful region is best experienced at a dawdle.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Toulouse, Gers & Vallée du Tarn.