Midi-Pyrénées

 

intro

 

Situated in the heart of south-west France, Midi-Pyrénées extends from the wooded hills of the Dordogne, in the north, to the great river valleys of the center and the majestic Pyrénées in the south. It is one of the largest regions in the country, with a landscape of ancient towns, villages, castles, Romanesque churches and an inexhaustible history.
Today, Midi-Pyrénées is sparsely populated.  During the hundred years, prior to the 1950s, the region’s population declined more than 30 percent.  Since the 1950s, its growth has been on a par with the part of rural France that is outside the region of Ile-de-France.  Following the Algerian war, the area has witnessed in influx of émigrés from northern Africa. 

Its extensive agriculture makes it a region of farmers and peasants, producing a variety of crops, maize, soya, sunflowers, tobacco, wheat, tomatoes, beans, kiwis, melons, strawberries, apples, pears, plums and peaches. The gastronomic escellence of the Midi-Pyrénées is unquestionable, whether you dine in a Relais-Château or in a local inn, you will taste wonderful foie gras, cassoulet, roquefort and drink local wines such as Fronton, Gaillac, Cahors and of course Armagnac.

Prefecture: Toulouse

 

The region of Midi-Pyrénées is composed of 8 départements:

Ariège (09), Capital :Foix
The region was originally part of Aquitaine and has retained many hallmarks of the Gascon culture and Gascon language. The old spas, such as those at Ax-les-Thermes (see below), which were known to the Romans, have been revived by the growing tourist industry. 

ax

 

 

Aveyron (12), Capital: Rodez
Orchards and vineyards are found in the low valleys of Aveyron.  The higher plateaus are dedicated to sheep grazing.  The sheep milk is used for making Roquefort cheese which they age in the limestone caves of the area. Aveyron contains a part of the Cévennes National Park. Well-known tourist attractions are the castle of Najac (see below), a medieval ruin perched high on a hill, and the many beautiful old castles and monasteries such as Conques Abbey, Bonneval Abbey, and Loc-Dieu Abbey located near Martiel in a region with many dolmens.

najac


Gers (32), Capital: Auch
Gers is one of France’s richest agricultural areas, with great emphasis on the local gastronomical specialties such as côtes de Gascogne, Floc de Gascogne, foie gras and wild mushrooms. It is here that Armagnac, a type of brandy, is distilled.

 

Haute-Garonne (31), Capital: Toulouse
The department has four ski resorts.
Peyragudes (1600 m -2450 m), 55 km of slopes
Luchon-Superbagnères (1440 m - 2260 m), 30 km of slopes
Le Mourtis (1380 m - 1816 m), 22 km of slopes
Bourg-d'Oueil (1350 m - 1500 m)

 

Hautes-Pyrénées (65), Capital: Tarbes
The Western Pyrenees National Park covers a significant area, and includes well-known attractions such as the Cirque de Gavarnie (see below) and the Pont d’Espagne. Its tourism is centered primarily about the popular spas of Bagneres-de-Bigorre and Cauterets and the old fortress town of Lourdes which has become one of the world’s most popular pilgrimage venues. The area is a nearly-permanent fixture on the Tour de France's itinerary, with legendary passes such as the Tourmalet, the Aubisque and the Soulor.
The regions premier avant-garde jazz festivals is held each year in Luz-Saint-Sauveur: Jazz a Luz. Tarbes hosts an annual horse festival, Equestria, and a Tango festival, Tarbes en Tango.

gavarnie

 

Lot (46), Capital: Cahors.
Tourism has been growing in the département mainly due to the charm of the ancient towns and villages and the beauty of the countryside.  Other contributing factors to this industry is the pilgrimage center at Rocamadour, which is located near the spectacular Gouffre de Padirac sinkhole.  And, at Pech-Merle, which is located east of Cahors, there is a cave with prehistoric wall paintings (see below).

merle

 

Tarn (81), Capital: Albi
Tarn’s primary agricultural products are cattle, cereals, chestnuts, fruits, mulberry trees, sparkling wines and vegetables.  The local industry consists mainly of engineering, food processing, metal fabrication, paper production and synthetic fiber production.  The coal mines, in the Albi-Carmaux area, supply this industry.

 

Tarn-et-Garonne (82), Capital: Montauban
For the most part, Tarn-et-Garonne is low-lying and fertile.  Corn and wheat are grown, cattle raised and vineyards and orchards are cultivated.  The département’s industry consists of some textile and mechanical manufacturing.

 

This regions lists 30 “most beautiful villages of France”, of which:

Autoire (Lot) autoire


belcastelBelcastel (Aveyron)


Bruniquel (Tarn-et-Garonne) chateau bruniquet

 

Camon (Ariège) camon

 

 

 

Market days in:


Foix: Wednesday all day from 10:00 in allée de Vilotte - craft market
Friday all day in place St-Volusien and allée de Vilotte - poultry, vegetable, honey, cheese and flower market also organic produce.

Rodez: Wednesday mornings in place du Bourg - general and organic food market
Friday afternoon in place du Sacré-Cœur - general food market
Saturday mornings in place de la Cité, place Emma Calvé and place du Bourg - general and organic food market,

Toulouse: Monday - all day on boulevard de Strasbourg - fruit and vegetable market
- Market St-Cyprien, all day in place  Roguet - postcard and antique toys
Saturday Market St-Etienne, all day in place  St-Etienne - book market
Sunday Market Jeanne d'Arc, mornings in place  Jeanne d'Arc - flower market

 

listing of all markets on: http://midipyrenees.angloinfo.com/information/9/markets.asp

 

Traditional events: (dates subject to change each year)

Transhumance in Couserant:
3 to 12 June, ST GIRONS - Ariège (09).
Transhumance is the name given to moving of farm animals up to higher pastures in summer. A long tradition firmly anchored in the Pyrenees landscapes. In Ariège, and especially in the region of Couserans, transhumance is a great pastoral festival, drawing in its wake more than 10,000 sheep, a thousand bovines, hundreds of horses up through 9 valleys to dozens of summer pastures, where the animals will spend the summer in total liberty.

transhumance

 


The Flower Festival: 18-21 August, Bagneres de Luchon (Haute-Garonne).
This festival is over a hundred years old, dating back to 1888, and still gives as much pleasure today: thirty or so floats decorated with natural flowers parade through the streets of the town, beautiful floral compositions created along a different theme each year. The flowers used to decorate the floats are cultivated during the year by volunteers.

fete des fleurs luchon

 

The Saffron Festival: 22-23 October, Cajarc (Lot).
The Saffron Festival in Cajarc invites you to experience the perfumed delights of saffron, with a visit to a saffron farm, exploring the saffron market, and gourmet meals where all the dishes are flavoured with saffron.


Truffle Market: 1-31 December, Lalbenque (Lot).
Lalbenque is THE truffle market of the southwest. Every Tuesday from December to mid March, the perfume of this black diamond invades the main street of the village which gathers enthusiasts of the "tuber melanosporum» the best known and most sought-after mushroom in the world. A small privilege is reserved for private individuals: the retail market opens half an hour before the wholesale market at 2pm. To find out more, the Tourist Office invites you to its " truffle days" every Tuesday at 10 o'clock.

truffes


Wine Festival: 6-7 August, Gaillac (Tarn).
Every year the Gaillac wine festival brings together more than 15,000 people: it is the biggest regional viticulture event. Is it due to the quality of the wines, which are tasted in the company of professionals? Is it due to the magnificent setting of the château de Foucaud, whose grounds are the enchanting setting for lunch and dinner for visitors? Is it due to the shows which accompany the whole event, both the bandas and sound and light shows? No doubt it's a bit of everything.

more on http://www.tourism-midi-pyrenees.co.uk/en/events/traditional-popular-events.php

 

Specialties:


Fatherland of the breeding of the lamb, you will find there fatty geese or duck and its famous foie gras or its delicious steaklets which is cooked smoked, out of salad, or hardly rosy...
Its famous Black Truffle will make of a simple omelette a pure moment of happiness.

Here is a recipe for you to try:

 

Green Asparagus with Truffle Butter

Ingredients

Serves 4 people

- 40 green asparagus

- 1⁄2 cup truffle juice

- 1 tsp of red Porto

- 1 once shallot

- 1/2 cup of butter

- 1 once fresh truffle

- Salt, pepper

Preparation

Chop the shallot and the truffle. Peel the asparagus and regroup and tie it 10 by 10. Place it in a plate and cover it with an humid towel dish.

Put the shallot and the red Porto to reduce. Let it reduce until it is dry and then add the truffle juice. -Cut the butter in small dices and mix it with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Boil the asparagus in a saucepan of salted water for approximately 18 minutes. Make sure to lower the boiling to avoid the break of the asparagus soft heads.

When it is done, strain the asparagus and cut the strings off. Warm up the truffle butter and mix it with the chopped truffle. Pour the truffle butter in the serving plates and place the asparagus on top of it.

Finish by pouring the left over sauce on top of the Asparagus.


Let us quote the famous poultries of Gers and a multitude of cheeses : of course Roquefort, but also Laguiole , Blue of Causses, Rocamadour, or Tomme of the Pyrenees.
And let us not forget the wine tradition, with Cahors, Gaillac, Madiran and other Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, etc...

 

The Toiles Basques:

The toiles Basques are brightly coloured woven fabrics from the Pyrenees area.
These thick fabrics (canvas) are traditionally used for table linen (cotton or coated), canvas shoes, deck chairs and many soft furnishing items.
However, their origin is quite different: they were originally made to cover working oxes to protect them against the bothering flies during the summer months !
The designs always include 7 different stripes representing the 7 provinces of the Pays Basque.

Here are some example out of our collection which you can see on this page of our website: http://www.lepinparasol.com/toile_basque_coated_tablecloth.htm

Basque stripes acrylic coated tablecloths
Biarritz Olive acrylic coated Basque tablecloth
Biarritz Green acrylic coated Basque tablecloth

Basque tablecloth

Biarritz Anis acrylic coated Basque tablecloth
Biarritz Ocean blue acrylic coated Basque tablecloth
Basque coated tablecloth Basque coated tablecloth
Biarritz red acrylic coated Basque tablecloth Mylene orange acrylic coated Basque tablecloth


8 seater Basque stripes coated tablecloth: AU$141 - US$123
10 seater Basque stripes coated tablecloth: AU$174 - US$150

For any other size, please ask for a quote -
Made to measure tablecloth is our specialty

Contact & Order

NOTE: The stripes go along the table

See our collection of Basque tablecloths, cotton and coated, on this page of our website: http://www.lepinparasol.com/toile_basque_coated_tablecloth.htm

 


More information:

http://www.tourism-midi-pyrenees.co.uk/en/index.php
http://www.francethisway.com/regions/midipyrenees.php

Recommended by one or more of our newsletter subscribers:

Tested by Suzie - http://www.lavenderalot.com/

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Catherine Castelain
c.castelain@lepinparasol.com
Date Last Modified: 4/3/15
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