Discover the most beautiful sites of Midi-Pyrenees within this two-day trip, with an overnight in Conques.
> day 1 – 210 km (130 miles) : Albi + Cordes sur Ciel + Conques (overnight)
> day 2 – 300 km (186 miles) : Rocamadour + Saint-Cirq Lapopie + Cahors
Starting and ending points of the trip
> departure from Toulouse on day 1
> overnight in Conques on day 1
> ends in Toulouse on day 2
> optional : the tour can also end in Carcassonne at your convenience (see prices below)
Highlights of the trip
> you will spend a night in Conques, in order to experience the special atmosphere of this village during the evening and morning.
> «The most beautiful villages of France» is an organisation created in 1982, which brings together 160 villages in France. Most of these villages are situated in southern France. This circuit will enable you to see 3 of them (Cordes-sur-Ciel, Conques and Saint-Cirq Lapopie).
> « The favourite village of the French » is a French television program which is broadcast every year in june/july since 2012. The Midi-Pyrenees region has won the competition twice : Saint-Cirq Lapopie was elected favourite village of the French in 2012, and Cordes sur Ciel was in 2014. You’ll visit both of them.
> this region is famous for its fine cuisine: you should try their Aligot (in Conques), truffle omelet, foie gras, or duck confit… and of course the “Rocamadour” goat’s cheese which takes its name for the village, served with Cahors wine (a full-bodied red wine made of Malbec grape which is famous in Argentine but originates from Cahors).
> the UNESCO World Heritage Sites : Albi (2010, for its historical centre), Rocamadour and Conques (1998, as they are part of the pilgrimage way to Compostella) were enlisted as World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
> many photo stops : our driver knows the best spots for amazing photos, he will be pleased to take you there. Do not hesitate to ask for extra stops if you need to take more.
> shops in Cordes-sur-Ciel, Saint-Cirq Lapopie and Rocamadour sell a selection of local specialities : Cahors wine, foie gras, walnut oil, walnut wine, chocolate covered raisins…
What to do after the trip ?
> if you wish to continue your trip towards the Basque Country, we may offer you a 2 day trip here (with overnight in San Sebastian in Spain). Contact us for more details.
> you may also book a trip to Carcassonne, which is the most famous medieval site in the region. You will find several trips which include Carcassonne on our website : half-day trip to Carcassonne, day-trip to Carcassonne and Montsegur Castle, day-trips to Carcassonne with a meal on a wine estate.
– 8.30 : pick up in Toulouse at your hotel
– drive to Albi
– guided tour of Albi : Sainte-Cecile Cathedral + Toulouse-Lautrec museum + Berbie gardens
– 12.00 : free time for lunch in Albi
– 13.10 : short photo-stop leaving Albi (nice view)
– drive to Cordes sur Ciel
– 13.40 : photo-stop in Cordes sur Ciel (nice view)
– 14.05 : guided tour of Cordes sur Ciel (one of the most beautiful villages of France)
– 14.25 : free time
– 15.00 : drive to Conques (one of the most beautiful villages of France)
– 16.50 : photo-stop in Conques (nice view)
– 17.05 : drop off at your hotel in Conques – check-in.
– guided tour of Conques (church porch and tympanum, the village)
– 18.00 : free time to visit Sainte-Foy Treasure and Sainte-Foy church
– evening free.
– 8.45 : pick up in Conques at your hotel
– photo-stop in Conques (nice view)
– drive to Rocamadour
– 10.35 : stop at Rocamadour’s panoramic view (amazing view in the morning when it’s sunny)
– 10.45 : stop at another panoramic view
– 11.00 : walking tour of Rocamadour : the Stations of the Cross + Saint-Sauveur church + Notre-Dame Chapel (Black Madonna)
– approx. 11.40 : free time to discover the village by yourself, after having walked down the 216 steps of the Grand Staircase.
– 13.10 : drive to St.Cirq Lapopie
– 14.20 : stop at the panoramic view over St.Cirq Lapopie (one of the most beautiful villages of France)
– 14.30 : visit of the village and walk up to the ruins of the castle to enjoy another beautiful view over the village and the river Lot
– 14.50 : free time
– 15.25 : drive to Cahors
– 15.55 : stop at the Pont Valentre, the medieval bridge of Cahors
– 16.15 : drive back to Toulouse
– 17.45 : drop-off in Toulouse.
Optional drop-off change to day 2 :
– 18.45 : drop-off in Carcassonne (if you choose to end the trip in Carcassonne instead of Toulouse).
> January 1st
> December 25th
> Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi : January 1st, May 1st , November 1st, December 25th, and every Tuesday from October to March.
> Conques Treasury : closed on January 1st and December 25th.
> from Toulouse (day 1) to Toulouse (day 2) : 510 km/316 miles
> from Toulouse (day 1) to Carcassonne (day 2) : 610 km/379 miles
> if you find the walk down the Stations of the cross or the Grand Staircase difficult in Rocamadour you may take the lift/elevator (which you will have to pay for).
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 433 € per person
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 483 € per person
> end in Carcassonne : additional cost 224 € (shared between the persons concerned)
What is a shared tour ? you agree to share the tour with other passengers (a maximum of 7 people). The tour can run with 2 people minimum. If only one person wants a tour, he/she will be required to pay double, so as to ensure the tour costs.
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver : 955 € (that means 137 € / pers. if you are a group of 7 people)
> with an English, Spanish and French speaking driver-guide : 1065 €
> end in Carcassonne : additional cost 224 €
What is a private tour ? the vehicle is booked for you and your party only (7 people maximum). No-one else can join the tour.
Are included in our price :
> transport in an 8 seater minivan (petrol, tolls, parking costs) with driver or driver-guide (at your request), speaking French, English and Spanish.
> commentaries by the driver or driver-guide during the trip
> driver’s/ driver-guide’s meals and accommodation
> guided tours of Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Conques, Rocamadour and St-Cirq Lapopie (according to programme) if you chose the driver-guide option
> bottles of water in the vehicle.
Are not included in our price :
> your lunch and accomodation (we can advise you on hotels in Conques if you wish)
> entrance fees
> personal costs
> if you are not able to walk down the Stations of the Cross or the Grand staircase in Rocamadour you can pay to use the lift / elevator.
> Albi, Cathedral chancel : about 5 € per person
> Albi, Toulouse-Lautrec Museum : about 10 € per person
> Conques Treasury : about 6,50 € per person.
> A 35% deposit must be paid on booking (by Visa or MasterCard), or 100% of the price if you book less than 30 days prior to the departure.
> the remaining 65% must be paid 30 days prior to the departure (by Visa or MasterCard).
> if you cancel the tour over 30 days prior to the scheduled departure you will get a full refund (no penalty).
> if you cancel less than 30 days prior to the scheduled departure you do not get a refund (you pay the tour as planned).
Please note that the refund is done to the credit card with which payment was originally made (or via PayPal if your card has expired).
Shared tour : if one person only is booked in for the tour
> in the eventuality of you being the only person booked in for a tour, 30 days or more prior to the scheduled departure: you can get a full refund if you chose to cancel. If you chose to maintain the trip you will have to purchase an extra ticket.
> if you have already paid for two people in order to maintain the tour, but that someone else joins the tour, you will get a full refund for the extra ticket you have paid for.
> please note : if you can’t pay 2 tickets to secure the trip, we are free to cancel your trip if we receive a firm booking for another trip. Of course, we’ll refund you the ticket already paid.
Albi is a town with 50 000 inhabitants. Its historical centre was classified by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010. Being mostly built of bricks, the city is a beautiful example of a “red city”.
You will visit the impressive Sainte-Cecile Cathedral church, which looks like a fortress from the outside, but is entirely painted and sculpted on the inside.
Next to the Cathedral is the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, presenting the largest collection of works by the artist, born in Albi in 1864. Discover his most famous works, such as Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, and Aristide Bruant posters, but also his early works, such as Artilleryman saddling his horse, which he painted at 15 years old, and many other works depicting his mother, or his cousin Gabriel for example.
After seeing the beautiful “French gardens” at the foot of the museum, discover on your own the other heritage treasures of the historical centre : Saint-Salvy cloister, the medieval streets lined with half-timbered houses, the Vigan square, the covered market (open every morning from Tuesday to Sunday)…
The open-air market takes place on Saturday morning in Albi, around the covered market.
Enlisted as one of the most beautiful villages of France.
The name of the village is enough to make you want to visit: “Cordes sur Ciel” means “Cordes upon the sky”.
And you won’t be disappointed! Cordes sur Ciel was voted “Favourite village of the French” in 2014, during a popular television show. The village was founded upon a rocky outcrop in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse, and most of its defensive walls are still standing. Some days the base of the hill can be hidden in the mist, leaving only the top of the village visible, as if it was hovering in the sky. Quite an extraordinary sight!
We will drive you to the top of the village (the walk up is quite difficult). You will then walk along the medieval streets to admire the Gothic façades of the 14th century town mansions. During tourist season (from mid-April to mid-October) the artisans’ workshops and galleries are open to the public: sculptors, painters, glass-workers, cutlers… So will be the restaurants and cafés, which are usually closed during the winter season.
Many artists have fallen in love with Cordes sur Ciel (French writers such as Albert Camus and Hector Malot for example), and it is said that Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki was inspired by Cordes sur Ciel when directing his film Castle in the Sky in 1986.
Before we leave the village we will take you to the best spot overlooking it, which only local guides know, and which is only accessible by car. From there you will get a breathtaking view over Cordes.
On Saturday mornings a little market takes place at the foot of the village.
If you have booked the private tour option we can modify the programme so as to have lunch in Cordes sur Ciel (instead of Albi) we advise you to try the restaurant called Terrasse sur Ciel (try their home-made foie gras!).
Enlisted as one of the most beautiful villages of France.
The little village of Conques is far off the main roads: this enabled it to keep an authenticity which all visitors appreciate. Peace and quiet gives a distinctive atmosphere to the village, especially in the evenings and early mornings (which you will experience if you sleep there overnight). The village is a major stop on the pilgrimage way to Compostella (“Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle” in French, or “Camino de Santiago” in Spanish), and you are likely to cross many pilgrims walking (or having a rest) in and around Sainte Foy church.
First we will stop at “Le Bancarel”, a site overlooking Conques, for the best panoramic view over the age-old village.
You will then discover the quaint medieval streets of the village, which was built around Sainte Foy church and its beautiful 12th century tympanum, presenting a Last Judgement scene. Its stained glass windows were added in 1992, a contemporary addition by the famous local artist Pierre Soulages.
If you are interested in religious art you should visit the “Treasury of Conques”, which is one of the richest in Europe, notably for its reliquary bust of Sainte Foy, a young Christian martyr who died in the 3rd century AD.
On day 2, before leaving the village we will take you to another wonderful spot overlooking the village.
If you chose to spend a night in the village two options are available: L’Auberge Saint-Jacques (we can book for you if you want ; the restaurant is good, try the local and excellent Aligot : dish made from melted cheese blended into mashed potatoes), or L’Hostellerie Sainte-Foy.
Another option outside the village is Le Moulin de Cambelong with a gourmet restaurant which has a Michelin star (chef Hervé Busset). If you chose to stay there our driver can take you to the hotel after your tour of the village.
If you only had time to visit one village in the South-West of France, it would have to be Rocamadour… This village is breathtaking: it cascades down a chalk cliff, built upon three terraces, which makes it a truly unique location.
It is in the morning that Rocamadour is the most beautiful. The view you get from L’Hospitalet (opposite the village) is stunning! We’ll stop there before leaving Rocamadour in day 3.
For centuries Catholic pilgrims have been coming here to worship the statue of a Black Virgin Mary, which is exposed in the tiny Notre Dame Chapel. This chapel is the heart of the sanctuary. It was probably built in the rock where the mysterious body of Amadour was discovered intact in 1166. The legend of the “Roc of Amadour” was born, and the village of Rocamadour developed thanks to the pilgrimage.
Today Rocamadour is one of the most visited villages in France. During summer thousands of people visit the village each day. The only street which crosses the village is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and hotels.
You’ll have lunch in Rocamadour, we advise you to try the restaurant Jehan de Valon, which is in the middle of the main street.
Enlisted as one of the most beautiful villages of France.
This village, which overlooks the Lot river, was the first to be voted “Favourite village of the French”, during the popular television show launched in 2012.
The narrow streets of Saint-Cirq Lapopie unravel down a steep slope, from the ruins of the castle all the way down to the “Door of Rocamadour”, which is one of the entrances into the village.
If you climb up to the top of the castle ruins you will get an amazing 360° panoramic view over the surroundings: the Lot meanders to one side (on which you may see little flat-bottomed boats which people hire); and on the other side the medieval houses which don’t seem to have changed for centuries, since no visible electric cables or satellite dishes are tolerated in the village.
During the tourist season you will find souvenirs, local food and wine, jewellery and artworks in the different shops and galleries open to the public.
Cahors is a medium-sized town of 20000 inhabitants. During the Middle-Ages many usurers established themselves in Cahors, bringing sudden wealth to the town. Due to that the Italian writer Dante Alighieri placed Cahors on his map of Hell…
Jacques Dueze, born in Cahors, became Pope of Avignon in 1316, and got many new monuments built in town.
Today the town is famous for its red wine, nicknamed “Black wine” by the English. It is grown to the south and west of the town. The Malbec grape is considered to be the Queen grape of Cahors wine: every bottle must contain a minimum of 70% Malbec.
The town was built in a meander of the river Lot. The historical centre, which is medieval, makes for a small portion of the town: narrow sinuous streets, some houses half-timbered (wood and brick), others built of limestone blocks, and many finely worked doors. In the historical centre is located St Etienne Cathedral, built between the 11th and 17th centuries, with its surprising cupola vaulting.
The most famous monument in Cahors is the Valentré bridge (where we will stop). It was built on the opposite side to the historical centre. Built during the 14th and 15th centuries to illustrate the town’s wealth, it is the last fortified bridge in France. Built over the river Lot, it still has three fortified towers.